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Brian D

Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

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Partly because I want to find a good reason to spend more time in Arts and Faith, I would love to get a discussion going about the possibilities for a future film list.  I have been more and more drawn to Letterboxd lately, but thinking (even considering) a film list would be enough to get me hanging out here some more.  I miss Arts and Faith. Let's think about lists again!

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YES. In a Top 25 thread from nearly two years ago, SDG suggested 2018 as the year for a Top 100. Ken also proposed the idea of a companion book. Both ideas seemed to be met with a lot of positive feedback, so is that enthusiasm still here? A&F seems a bit quiet these days, although I do check the forum daily. I'm game for a Top 100, and wonder if such a list-creating endeavor could reignite some of the discussion here.

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I'm up for doing either a top 25 or a new top 100, although I wonder if there's enough participation here for that to be feasible. I know I've cut back on posting, but I still check the board once a day.

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I’m down for either. Like Evan, I’ve not posted as much lately, but I check in multiple times a day. 

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I'm on board but worry about the level of participation and how that might affect the results. What's our baseline participation goal for a new Top 100?

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How many participated in our last Top 100?  I think we'd need a certain minimum to make such an endeavor worthwhile and valid.

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Regarding Andrew and Christian's questions about participation, I didn't vote in the 2011 list, but reading through the various threads and nominations, many of the same people who were commenting there are still somewhat active on A&F, at least within the past year or so. And A&F has added a few folks since then. Are there any stats somewhere about the actual numbers for voting in previous lists? A bigger question for me is the role of Image--Greg Wolfe and Anna J seemed like the main organizers for the list, but I'm not sure what role Image would play now.

All this to say, I still think it's very much worth doing.

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I really enjoyed participating in the Top 25 list last year, and I'd be eager to participate in whatever form this takes. I agree with Brian and others that discussions around lists seem productive for this forum, and those would be discussions I'd want to participate in.

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Does anyone want to reach out Darren, M. Leary, Purves, Persona, and any other original members whose input would be invaluable in making a new list, especially a new top 100?

And I'm with Joel, I think this is definitely worth doing.

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I also strongly recommend we find a way to include dynamic female film voices like Melissa Tamminga and Alissa Wilkinson.  Whether for blurbs or just voting, their contribution would be incredible.  Also, BethR and other women who've played a key role in Arts and Faith.

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I'm still here and am checking in every week.  If enough participants desire to update the Top 100 list, I'd recommend:

1) First and foremost, re-establishing Arts & Faith's contact with Image: Assuming Image is still going to publish what we produce here, we'll need a contact person there who can familiarize him- or herself with how Arts & Faith's lists, voting, polls, and film & voter ranking calculations all work.

2) Selecting someone with the ability to lead and organize the process: I can personally testify that this would be a significant time commitment.  While I can actively participate, I know I would not have the time right now to lead and organize it.

3) Obtaining a satisfactory minimum number of participants who would commit to working on this: I second Andrew and Christian on that.

4) Creating a reasonable timeline:  I'd give an update to the Top 100 list more time to put together than we've given the Top 25 lists, and I know the only way many of us could participate in this is if we place goals and dates on the calendar that we can plan and allocate time for.

See also our December 2016 discussion.

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Unless someone wants to discuss it with Image folks while at the Glen Workshop this next week, I can reach out to Image about potential timelines for publication and a reasonable timeline. Regarding the number of participants: has there ever been a quorum for these list-making projects? How many people do we need? As far as I can discern from reading other threads on the Top 100 process, I can't find data for such a quorum. If I recall correctly, there was a weighted process with the votes depending on involvement, (i.e. someone with more posts had more weight/influence with their votes). I can understand why this practice was in place back then, but I wonder if it's worth reconsidering how we weigh someone's involvement at A&F.

I'd like to say I could organize all this, but my schedule for autumn is going to be much busier than it is now, and it could prove difficult. Still, if no one else objects or offers to take point in the near future, I can assume the lead on coordinating with Image to make a Top 100 list happen for the end of 2018.

Depending on the timeline though, this all *might* overlap with a 2018 A&F Ecumenical Jury process, if that's still something we'd like to do. Should we do both?

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I definitely think we should continue the Ecumenical Jury, regardless of whether we make a new list.

I agree we should settle on some sort of quorum, and perhaps dispensing with the weighted voting system would be wise. I know it was to discourage people from creating accounts just to vote and then never participating on the board, but given we probably have fewer numbers, it would probably skew the tallies too much. Also, if we were to invite Alissa Wilkinson and Melissa Tamminga to participate, it would definitely be better not to have the weighted totals. I can personally attest dispensing with it will make tallying votes a lot quicker and easier.

Joel, I'd be happy to help with tallying votes, keeping track of nominees, etc. I don't think I have time to run the entire thing by myself, but if you handled communications with Image, I think I could make a list of titles and crunch numbers.

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1 hour ago, Evan C said:

Joel, I'd be happy to help with tallying votes, keeping track of nominees, etc. I don't think I have time to run the entire thing by myself, but if you handled communications with Image, I think I could make a list of titles and crunch numbers.

Thanks Evan! I've reached out to a few A&F folks who haven't commented in this thread yet to gauge interest. With Image having the Glen Workshop soon, and with people's summer/back-to-school schedules, I imagine it may take a few weeks to discuss all this and figure out the concrete details.

And to put my cards on the table, I think the weighted voting system should be disbanded for this process. I can appreciate the history of the practice, but I feel it's unnecessarily exclusive and hierarchical.

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10 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

And to put my cards on the table, I think the weighted voting system should be disbanded for this process. I can appreciate the history of the practice, but I feel it's unnecessarily exclusive and hierarchical.

I mostly agree with you here.  If the voting ends up being done exclusively by longtime A&F regulars and established film critics, then absolutely yes.  If we have newer folks or less seasoned cinephiles on board, then some weighting is called for. 

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Yes, let's do away with weighted voting. I have a lot of posts here at A&F,  but as my participation waned, then ceased, in recent years, I'd wondered if my votes carried more weight than they should relative to those who were more active on the board. (My highest-rated choices never seemed to place too high on the final lists, alleviating my concern somewhat.)

I've enjoyed the Ecumenical Jury the past few years and hope it continues. Even if I were not to participate in the jury, I'd still value reading its results/awards.

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5 hours ago, Andrew said:

I mostly agree with you here.  If the voting ends up being done exclusively by longtime A&F regulars and established film critics, then absolutely yes.  If we have newer folks or less seasoned cinephiles on board, then some weighting is called for. 

I’m on board, and Andrew's consideration applies to me, and I tend to agree. As someone who has only been participating here for a year and a half or so and is a cinephile who enjoys writing about film but is not a film critic, I would value the input/judgment of the longtime members more than my own. I am happy just to be included/welcomed into the process to the extent that I am.

I tend to gravitate toward older, slower, more thoughtful and spiritually-oriented films, the kind that make up the Top 100. I’m more interested in, invested in, and eager to discuss them than the future and current releases that make up the majority of discussion on the board. Not being a film critic, I tend to watch more tried-and-true films than I do new releases. (And the Image Ecumenical Jury list is one of my main guides for newer films! So please, you all, do keep making those lists!) I should add that I came to the board after coming across the 2011 Top 100 list shortly after it was created, and I realized it was my kind of list and you all are my kind of cinephiles!

That said, I agree with Joel in principle. This board has an ethos of exclusivity as it is. (That’s probably inevitable with so many longtime and committed members—a major strength—but still…) And Joel himself has been one of the most active participants here in the years I have been lurking and then participating, and I read and highly respect his posts and reviews. Even if he hasn’t made thousands of posts, his voice carries as much weight here to me as anyone’s. Same goes for Evan, and others. That kind of participation can’t be quantified the way that post count can. That’s this relative newbie’s take.

Perhaps there could be a nomination round, then a "weighted" first round of voting to determine what films will be on the list, and then another unweighted round to determine the ranking of those films (perhaps using some form of submitting and combining directly ranked lists). That would ensure that relatively-unseen but well-loved gems don’t get excluded, and probably create some level of continuity with the past, but it would also make the ranking more meaningful and allow for better discussions. It would also take longer, but at this point I’m not sure a 2018 release is realistic anyway for a Top 100. And it sounds like others are happy to dispense with weighted voting altogether.

What alternatives to the old method do others think should be considered?

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It's good to hear that the Ecumenical Jury is seen as valuable enough to do again, regardless of the status of creating a Top 100 list. I'm for doing it again too; it's a very unique contribution to the year-end discussion on cinema.

I'm trying to discern the history and tradition of the A&F list-making practice from a second- or third-generation perspective. I watched the Top 2010 and Top 2011 lists process as a mostly-silent lurker--I think I may have voted in the Top 2011, though my memory is muddled on that. Reading through an archived thread from 2004 about the early list-making process was helpful. I also discovered that 44 people voted in the 2010 Top 100, and 65 voters in 2011. It does seem like the process has changed or evolved over the years due to the community involved and the point person(s) organizing it all. I know I'm a different cinephile--hell, a wholly different person--than I was in 2011. I cannot seem to find discussion as to why the Top 100 practice was abandoned after 2011, seemingly in favor of the Top 25 lists. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Perhaps the Ecumenical Jury process can offer a potential alternative to the question of a weighted vote. In the previous Top 100 votes, it seems there was a link posted on A&F's website to a SurveryMonkey poll, and a timeline for when that poll opens and closes (please correct me if I'm wrong on this). With the Ecumenical Jury, the poll link has been emailed to participants, who have to put their name, A&F user ID, and email address, which provides some proper accountability (no anonymous voters, multiple votes, or a random person clicking on the link in an A&F forum to mess with the results). I think there's a proper exclusivity in the voting process itself--if someone has not seen a film, then she/he can't/doesn't vote on it. I think this encourages folks to seek out the nominated films to watch them--to expand their film-watching--and thus make their vote count. In weighting the votes as opposed to the voters, it seems the emphasis is on the films themselves, not the quantity (instead of quality) of voters' online posts. Thoughts?

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I think this may be the Top 100/25 discussion you were asking about, Joel:  

 

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Joel Mayward wrote:
: . . . it seems there was a link posted on A&F's website to a SurveryMonkey poll . . .

The typo there gets me wondering if it would be possible to do a Scurvy Monkey poll. :)

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I think emailing a link of the survey to everyone would be a good idea. That way, we'd have confirmation of everyone who was participating, and it would make sure that bots or trolls couldn't come onto the board and then vote themselves.

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