Standards of the Xyzzymposium

  1. The primary purpose of the Xyzzymposium is to provide detailed, in-depth analysis of the XYZZY Award finalist games in terms of the specific category.
  2. A secondary purpose is as a reward for finalist authors. This, however, is not praise per se; it’s detailed attention.
  3. Contributors are expected to treat the games with more thorough attention than they would employ as casual players. In a normal review, it is appropriate to say that you didn’t understand the point of something, or that you got sick of a game and never completed it. Here, the job of the critic is to understand the game on behalf of others.
  4. Contributors are not expected to exclude their personal responses to games from consideration. They do not have to like all the games they cover. They are expected to thoroughly explore and support their reactions with care and diligence, and to treat sensitive topics with sensitivity.
  5. The goal of an article is not to say which piece should have won the award, or whether a nominee was a deserving finalist. That said, these are permissible conclusions to reach. (Indeed, the contributors are well-positioned to be critics of the Awards themselves.)
  6. The opinions of contributors are their own, not the official views of the XYZZY Awards. This holds true even if people who are XYZZY organisers contribute pieces.
  7. Contributors are encouraged to take advantage of resources outside their own direct experience of the nominated works. Things that might be considered include reviews, author statements, play transcripts, other works which form a comparison or context, and discussion with other players or the author. (An Innovation or Tech Dev award, for instance, makes little sense when divorced from the state of the field in general.)
  8. Articles will be supported by a peer editing process before publication; the goal will be improving overall content, rather than a simple copy-edit. Final authority over the content of the piece, aside from minor issues of formatting, will always rest with the article’s author.
  9. Contributing writers are not expected to have played most of the finalists before committing to a category. The organiser should give appropriate warning about the size, nature and difficulty of games before assigning a category to a writer; writers should ensure that they have time to get to grips with games.
  10. The reader is assumed to already be familiar with the works discussed: the author doesn’t need to include a synopsis or general review, and spoilers need no apology.
  11. There is no upper or lower word limit on articles. Contributing writers may use as much space as they feel is necessary to address the subject.
  12. Contributors are expected to provide disclosure if they were directly involved in the production of the work (e.g. as testers) or if they received anything in conjunction with their contribution. There is no requirement to disclose personal relationships or indirect contributions (such as authorship of publicly-available tools used by a game). If in doubt about this, they should consult the organiser.
  13. Contributors may not cover a category in which their own works were nominated in the relevant year.

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