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Bracketology: what's next?

Here's a discussion I've been wanting to have for a while, and it seems like the hiatus in the tournament (well, until tomorrow) is an appropriate time to bring it up.

On and off for the last few months, I've been crunching numbers and trying to see how album bracketology might work.

I'm leaning strongly toward abandoning the idea for now. Partly that's because I don't think it would be appropriate to do it so close to the upcoming album poll--I don't want to steal any thunder from that project.

But the bigger problem is that I just don't see that bracketology would work all that well for albums--I think most of us (me included) would be faced with a LOT of albums we'd never heard. And while it's a relatively simple and inexpensive matter to listen to a song you've never heard before, it's not really feasible to track down that many unfamiliar albums.

I could mitigate that problem by limiting the tournament to 32 or 64 albums, but that seems...kinda boring.

What do y'all think?

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

I agree.

A few days ago I was on the Bracketology Central thread (where the idea first materialized), and I found myself thinking about how exactly an album Bracketology might work or play out.

My conclusion is that, although interesting, it would be a laborous process, simply on the grounds that I'd need to listen to a LOT of albums that I've never heard before, probably a few times each in order to give an intelligent comment. And as much of a music fan as I am, the task is more daunting than exciting.

Furthermore, and maybe more importantly, realistically - album Bracketology would probably not amount to much more than just a different version of song Bracketology. And by this, I mean that a lot of comments would be along the lines of "... this album is great because it has song x, and song y, and song z...." We'd be reducing it to singles anyway.

That's my two cents.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Sorry to respond to my own post, but let me also add something which you may find consoling. Or threatening.

I DO have another large-scale competition in preparation, to start once bracketology ends. All I'll say about it now is that:

-it's not a tournament, although it does involve ballots.
-it won't detract from the upcoming polls.
-it will generate debate.
-it's really rather evil.
-it's going to be a lot of fun.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

schleuse, you ARE the man machine. I mean, how could you fall asleep last night with all these things going on in your head?

I love it

PS. Are you gonna let us wait to hear about your new poll. Now, that is threatening!

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

I'm missing less than 10 albums from the AM top 300, so I'd be all for album bracketology. But I guess I might be in the minority.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Aw, c'mon schleuse, this is killing me. What've you got planned for us?! The suspense...

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

In the words of Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, "There is an art to the building up of suspense."

Here's another clue (cryptic, of course):


Re: Bracketology: what's next?

is that a reality show ?
15 music nerds on an island. One Cd player

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

256 records
No speakers

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

They broadcast the records by combining porcupine needles and seashell resonance chambers in underground caves, a combination that for the first time ever allows someone to decipher the lyrics to Louie Louie.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Desert island discs, probably. We may be voting OUT albums/singles in this thingy schleuse has planned. And I'll fuck all y'all up if you vote out Prince, ya hear?

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

You guys are getting warm.

Well, except jonmarck (and anyway, that plan would never work...you just know Gilligan would screw it up somehow).

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

the end of the story
Happily, one guy has a satellite phone
so a few days after that a plane comes in and they are all jumping and waving arms on the beach
it's Amazon bringing the speakers

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Turns out they're yorkville so the audiophile of the group refuses to listen and moves to the other side of the island every time someone turns them on.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

OK, so much for being cryptic. I’m gonna go ahead and reveal the new project…you guys dragged it out of me with your clever story. Anyway, we’ll probably need some prep time to get ready for it.

nicolas came close, and Moonbeam very nearly got it. No, it’s not desert island discs; it’s…

…AM Survivor.

Here’s the plan:

Your contestants are the top 100 artists on this site.

And on Monday, November 26, we start voting ‘em off.


Re: Bracketology: what's next?


How's it going to work?

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

You the man schleuse. Doubtless you've already figured out all the minute details already...?

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

it's gonna be a real jeu de massacre

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Details? OK, details...

Actually, although I have a general outline of how I see Survivor working, I'm still trying to smooth over some of the rough edges. Any input is VERY welcome at this stage.

The schedule, for instance. The main consideration here is that I don’t want to drag it out past its sell-by date. If we voted off, let’s say, one act per week, it would take nearly two years…that’s clearly unacceptable.

So, here’s the elimination format I’m thinking of now. I’ve already tinkered with this quite a bit, and this may not be the final version (again, if you have ideas, let’s hear ‘em):

We vote off
-four acts a week until we’re down to a top 40, then
-three acts a week until we’re down to a top 25, then
-two acts a week until we’re down to 11, then
-one act a week until we’re down to the last survivor.

Even that would take us deep into summer 2008 (again, that’s starting in late November). If we wanted to shorten it, we could just start with the top 50 or top 75, but…how can I put this? It’s not going to take very long for the choices to get really difficult. With a list of 100 artists, I think everyone’s going to be able to find an easy five to ten acts they’d like to cull first, which seems like a good idea as we get this thing off the ground.

There are other things that need to be hashed out, too. One is ballot format. The only thing I know for sure is that, as in bracketology, I’d like you to explain your choices (for elimination in this case)—HOWEVER, once you’ve commented on an act, you don’t have to do it again if the act survives to the next week (unless you want to). As for the size (how many artists?) and format (to rank or not to rank?) of the ballots, let’s table that for now until we’ve got a schedule we’re happy with.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

This could be a lot of fun. It will also involve a lot more strategic voting than bracketology. If you want someone other than the Beatles to win (and by no means do I want that), do you try and get a voting bloc together to knock them out early?

One problem I could foresee is early eliminations. There is limited traffic on this site to get a real quorum for voting off of a list of 100. We could have one vote for 20 different artists in week 1.

Not suggesting we should adopt the following format. This is your baby schleuse and you did a fantastic job with bracketology. But its an interesting way of dealing with the balloting problem. I cribbed this idea from the Television without Pity forums, where they have "survival" games for favorite characters, episodes, etc. How they work is you start with a list (say 100 top artists) and give them all 15 points. Each person is allowed to either add two points (++) or deduct two points (--) from three artists. (e.g., I want to give the Beatles 2 and take away 2 from the Doors and the Eagles. Now the Beatles have 17, and the Doors and Eagles have 13.) When you vote, copy the list with the new numbers and move the artists into their proper place on the list under the new point totals. When someone sends an artist off the island (sends them down to zero), they have the honor of creatively describing exactly how they fell to their death, or left the island, or whatever.

A person can only vote once a day (this may need to be tinkered with, given the traffic on the forums, so that the game doesn't last too long).

Once half the artists have been eliminated, you can add only ONE point, though we still deduct two...that's to ensure that the game doesn't last forever.

This is just an idea to think about. It's fun because you have to think strategically. Do you prefer to add points to your favorites or subtract points from your least favorites, or even from the ones you may like, but are worried will beat out your favorite. It probably would last too long. One way to speed it up is to allow more than three votes per day, maybe you could add or subtract from five or even ten artists, then whittle the number of votes down as the list gets smaller.

Just an idea to think about. But again, this is your baby schleuse and whatever you choose will be much fun, I'm sure.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Interesting idea, Schwah--and I can see some good reasons for adopting it...

...but there are some potential problems with it that occur to me immediately. One is, as you point out, it's open-ended. We would have no idea when this would end, and in fact I could easily see it ending in a stalemate, as Moonbeam keeps giving Prince 2 points every day and I keep giving R.E.M. 2 points (not really, but I wouldn't be surprised to see SOMETHING like that happen).

I don't want to slag on your idea, because I like it and I could see using it in other contexts, but it comes down to this: although I agree that the strategy of voting will be more interesting and complex in Survivor than in bracketology, I don't want it to be fundamentally about strategy; I want it to be about our consensus picks. I think a straightforward ballot vote is the best way to get that (and the best way to keep me from getting irretrievably confused).

But, again, I'll take good ideas wherever I can get them, and if all of y'all think that the starting-15-points system sounds great, I'll seriously think about it. Actually, for anyone who's interested, the project that got me thinking about AM Survivor is here. This was a Survivor-type format for determining the best baseball player of all time, and I think there are some good ideas here even if you know/care little or nothing about baseball.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Prince is number 1, suckas!

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Okay, schleuse. I see how this will work. I like the idea of ranking your top 5 to leave the island, and giving them 5-4-3-2-1 points (as they did it at the baseball site that you mentioned). And I agree that we should avoid strategic voting. That way we'll really have a gauge of who the board thinks is overrated in the top-100.

By the way, the reason that the method I posted doesn't go on forever is because of the switch halfway through where you can only add one point, but still subtract two points. So you could help R.E.M amass larger points earlier on, while others concentrate on knocking out less worthy candidates (or propping up their own favorites). But then halfway through, you would not be able to prop R.E.M. up as quickly as others could knock them down.

I'm looking forward to it scheuse!!

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

Just throwing another idea out there. Will not take offense if not used.

It might be kind of fun if, during the first week we could nominate one of our favorite artists from outside of the top 100 to be included on the island. (I nominate The Replacements, No. 142.)

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

That's an excellent idea, Loophole, and I'm going to use it, although I'm going to tweak it slightly:

Before the tournament begins, we'll have about a three-week voting period when any voter can nominate five artists ranked between 101 and 200 on this site to be "wild cards" in Survivor. Voters who do this also get to nominate five artists in the top 100 to be knocked out before we even start! Both "in" and "out" ballots will use the 5-4-3-2-1 format.

This way, we keep the "top 100" format, which I think is elegant, and a classic. We will call this process, appropriately, the Loophole Round.

Limiting the candidates to #101-200 is a little arbitrary, but I think that with a limited pool of artists, we have a better chance to build consensus. Otherwise, for instance, I would use my top pick on X (#253), which would accomplish absolutely nothing.

I think we'll start the Loophole Round around November 9, which will be well into bracketology's Sweet 16 (I don't want to detract too much from bracketology).

Re: Bracketology: what's next?


X has at least one other supporter. Me.

Re: Bracketology: what's next?

See, Loophole, I KNEW you had good taste!