Four Scores and 1.5 years Ago...(Registry Scoring Discussion Thread)
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@ADAMANTIUM As promised, I would like to open a discussion about the Registry Scoring System.

 

Let me start off by saying this:

 

Registry scores do not equate to market dollars. 

 

I understand that this is a competition, and you can't have a competition without points.  But, as far as the Registry Awards go, we do not pick the award winners based on points.  If you look at this year's award winners, you will see that we gave awards to sets that have close to 100% completion, lots of photos, and descriptions that are not cut and pasted from other sites.  We put in a lot of time and effort into choosing the award winners, and I am very proud of the job we did this year.

 

I would ask that everyone that is concerned about registry scoring read this thread:

 

 

 

You will notice that the thread is over 15 years old, when the registry was a fraction of the size it is now.

As it currently stands, we are approaching 600,000 books,, with over 9500 competitive sets.  There is no automated system in place to update individual scores. This is why the score update thread was created. 

However, due to inflation, market volatility, FOMO hysteria, and anomalies in the scoring algorithm, I have locked that thread.  I will fulfill the existing requests in the thread when I have the time.  It simply is not feasible to adjust the scores every time there is a price spike for 1 book.  

I have more thoughts, but I wanted to get this thread going and get some input from you all.

 

Thanks!

 

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@wytshus

It is appreciated! Are the scoring and ranks going to be filtered or change though? or new?? I appreciate the reassurance of points and ranks that it doesn't equate to final decisions, yet they're fun to look at, but then idk their true purpose? If any?

I'm 16 books shy of completing X-men 94-143, but I have all the pics and my own descriptions. :)

Spoiler

I'm still like rank #111 in line, but I appreciate the sentiment, as some books I own would be hard for some to get now; me getting them early on, but to your point, I'm still far, far off from being ranked #1 and I feel that I'm looking at the #1 spot a lot like people are looking at my #111. A popular set.

My few suggestions, along with runs, is that we should give consideration to more than 1st app and give credence to 2nds and 3rds, as cgc notated them. If we continue to keep secluded label notations like those to custom sets, perhaps cgc can offer more awards than 1 prize to see what we can come up with to become more permanent, eventually; or what are current popular demands.

There are distorted holograms and other fun notations that cgc niches that we can collect, we should be all encouraged or at least encompassing.

If there were more determined factors then the "points" for the hard to add "variants" COULD BECOME MORE STRUCTURED, and or easier to deal with? That would be my hope.

I welcome adjustments because, just because. I mean I'm used to the current way, yet mixing it up when most winners have already won is cool, because it is "hard to have repeat winners. This from someone who is yet to be seen in any running, given the "completeness" factor of larger sets that take time and effort, if not "only money" Lol

But some few thoughts I've had, I don't know how cohesive it is to the big picture, or even, from what's been mentioned prior to my joining 2015/16

Still if there is to be poitnand rank adjustments what purpose do they serve? I guess that is my point, or how does them being adjusted change anything? Or in what capacity ?

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Lol I think my memory clogged and can answer most of it.

Ranks and points are still over all compared to everyone else, along with books, runs, and label notations, but again, also money.

@wytshus I think what you're saying is when awards come, the money part doesn't matter or not as much.

I was all for adjustments of points and rank, even before that tidbit. I've since noticed copper or bronze (older books) that I would consider "better" than say Ms marvel #1 from 2014, which is worth 100+ points, that I own that are worth less than that Ms marvel.

That's a long anecdote to say I welcome anything that makes the registry more streamlined and cohesive to the big picture, also that makes it easier for the cgc management to update or corelate and keep current. ^^

 

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Honestly I’m worried less about points and more about slot creation.

Still concerned about newsstands getting ‘variant’ designation (their own slots AND potentially more points) when the idicia indicates no difference (as a friend reminded me!).

I’ve beat this up in another thread but again, label note is great (not that’s its needed 🤣).  Even census break out is okay too (even though that will never be accurate… data-wise won’t even be close/reliable another 20 years from now).

But variant designation with slots and additional points is a no-go for me.  I’ve deleted all competitive sets but one and that will go when the first newsstand variant is added to it.  That decision will eliminate anyone that’s not a ‘newsstand guy’ from competition.

Thank you!

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Also, after asking "what are the 'changes' that are happening?" as those haven't been mentioned to my knowledge....

Are the "changes" retroactive? or are they from here on out? 

So far nothing looks "changed" in the registry, so not sure what were discussing exactly :shy: 

I don't believe that we have a frame of reference yet ..... :cheers: @wytshus

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First thing we need to do is get a handle on the algorithm.  I have discovered several anomalies where scores don't match up with other parts of the database.  

I input Universal Scores, and the algorithm is supposed to adjust for other categories.  This isn't happening correctly in some instances, and it really concerns me.  I am going to work with our new CTO to see if we can identify where the problem lies, and what we can to to resolve.

After that, I am seriously considering creating "Invisible" sets for the Silver, Copper, Bronze, and Modern keys. Probably max 100 books in each set.  The scores in these sets will be updated at designated times, probably twice a year.  This will take a lot of time and research, but once completed, it will take a load off my mind.

 

More to come.

 

 

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@Iconic1s

I had no input on this decision.  I was told of this change only after it was announced.  I haven't seen any requests for newsstand slots, and it's still too early to tell how much interest there is going to be in relabeling/re-slabbing existing newsstand editions.

 

There are plenty of sets with newsstand variant slots, and to be honest, variants don't impress me at all. Newsstands impress me even less. Personally, I think they dilute the value of the 1st Prints.  I find it ridiculous to have 50+ variant covers for 1 issue,

 

Please keep in mind that points in the registry are for entertainment purposes only.  We took great care in this year's awards to avoid picking winners based on how much many points(i.e. money) they have.

 

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@wytshus First and foremost, thanks for everything you do for the Registry, including opening this dialogue. I can only imagine that it's long, thankless work made harder, not easier, by choices made long before you got the role. Thank you. Now, onto my thoughts!

Problem 1: Setting and maintaining point values is an impossible task

Under the current system, the Registry points for individual slots are, at least in theory, loosely tied to the "value" of the book. When the Registry was created, the comics market was a lot more stable than it is now (and the Registry was smaller), so this value was determined by physically looking up then-recent sales history and kinda-sorta converting that to points. Obviously, that's no longer tenable:

  • The volume of books in the Registry makes determining FMV in this manner impractical. There are entire sites dedicated to attempting to track the market value of books, and even they struggle to keep up. CGC cannot -- and should not, because it presents an appearance of conflict of interest -- be trying to track values like GoCollect or GPA. As an aside, I've long believed this is a problem with the CGC grading fees scaling off FMV, but that's off topic for this thread.
  • The current nature of the market is prone to extremely high, extremely rapid spikes in book values which do not always persist in the long-term.
  • This process simply doesn't work for books that are infrequently traded, whether due to actual scarcity or mere scarcity of collector interest.

Additionally, there is arguably a problem where single key books can vastly dominate the Registry value of the rest of their set, although the Registry is ostensibly supposed to reward broad, run-based collection. I did a lot of math about this last year, but basically you can take a title like Albedo (or, to some extent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and the single hyper-valued key allows for one book to outrank essentially the entire run without that one book. That's fine if the goal is to make Registry sets a measurement of the monetary value of the collection, but: "Registry scores do not equate to market dollars."

We also discussed solutions last year. I still like the approach PSA uses for its card Registry, which should clean up the algorithm mess, too, but may or may not be practical from a systems engineering standpoint.

However, this does still need consideration as to...

Problem 2: How are sets are defined in the first place, and what to do about newsstand editions?

Right now, we've got sort of a mess. And it's going to get a lot worse. You can, as it stands, have sets that are:

  1. Strictly by title
  2. Strictly by title for a specific (sometimes seemingly arbitrary) run
  3. By title, but including related books (like one-shot spin-offs)
  4. By category, such as all books involved in a cross-title promotion. Death of Superman, just to choose something at not-even-close-to-random.
  5. By character (or setting) appearance, regardless of title
  6. By artist (or potentially by other contributor -- I wouldn't mind a JMS writer-credit set, but currently there's no precedent for that)

Did I miss options? I bet I missed options. Additionally, some sets are (Complete) or (Complete with Variants) or something of that nature. I'll come back to that. The first part of this problem is that it's not entirely clear what belongs in what set. There's a marked conflict when someone thinks a set should be one of these types, but someone else thinks it should be another. And there's quite a bit of logical collection space that gets lost along the way. Let's use an example: The Walking Dead. There are a TON of sets related to The Walking Dead:

  • Walking Dead (2003). This set includes all of the issues of the main series, but with only one slot per issue number. That is to say, it doesn't include any second printings or any variants of any type. However, it does include a whole bunch of books not literally part of the series: Capes 1 and Agents 6 (containing previews of the upcoming series), several spin-off one-shots, plus lots and lots and lots of books that contain short comic stories that belong in the same storyline as The Walking Dead itself but do not share the title (everything from an annual publication of the CBLDF to an issue of Playboy!).
  • Walking Dead (2003 Complete with Variants). This is everything in the above set, plus separate slots for all of the million billion reprints and cover variants this title -- or the associated other books -- has featured.
  • Walking Dead (#1-#48). This is a run set for the title's first storyline, "The Rise and Fall of the Governor". It's a "non-Complete" set, so it doesn't include variants, just one slot per issue by number. Except that it also includes slots for Walking Dead --script Book 1 (a text-only publication of the scripts for the first 6 issues, as originally drafted) and Walking Dead Special Edition 1 (even though this is, fundamentally, a reprint of The Walking Dead 1 with a different indicia). I'll agree those books are related, but surely they're not part of the run, right?
  • Walking Dead: 15th Anniversary Edition Variants. This one is what it says on the tin, which is nice, except...
  • Walking Dead: 15th Anniversary Edition Store Variants. This is a pretty logical grouping, and this time really IS exactly what it says on the tin. The only concern here is that the previous set doesn't really make clear that it's the non-store Anniversary Edition variants (store variants are only in this set, not both of these).

Plus separate sets for Walking Dead Deluxe, Walking Dead Deluxe (Complete with Variants), Walking Dead Survivors' Guide, and Walking Dead Weekly (this one contains variants but doesn't say so). And a bunch of foreign republication sets which I'm not going to link because I'm lazy. Whew. Okay then. So here's the problem. Let's say you literally just want to collect the main TWD title (with or without variants, frankly). There's no set for that. Even the issue-limited "run" set includes other, related books. Let's say you want a set for literally everything TWD there is; there's no set for that either because the 4-issue mini (et al) is disjunct.

And the new elephant in the room is what those "Complete" or "Complete with Variants" sets really entail. Off the top of my head, you potentially have:

  • Multiple printings, whether or not they have a different cover
  • Variant covers, including everything from retailer incentives to store exclusives to convention swag to just issues that shipped with 50:50 cover ratios because reasons
  • Books printed concurrently with the main run but intended for foreign distribution (Canadian Price Variants, pence copies, etc.)
  • Occasional weird stuff, like test-market price variants
  • Licensed foreign-market (and typically foreign-language) republications
  • And now, newsstand distribution editions...
  • Also, before we move out, pour one out for MJIs, which are noted on the label but not in a ways that makes the Census-distinct so they cannot ever have Registry slots for those so-inclined.

Currently, the status quo is that "normal" sets don't include any of that, and have one slot per issue, no questions. "Complete" or "complete with variants" sets have extra slots for multiple printings, for variant covers, and for the weird stuff (like the 35c price variants), but not necessarily the foreign-distribution copies, and not ever the foreign-market books (except for the ones that do, like the various German-market books in the corresponding Spawn set). Set titles don't always make clear what's what. Chosen at random, the set for the 1993 Gambit 4-issue miniseries includes a slot for the Gold Edition variant of #1, but isn't marked Complete or anything of that nature. So I have no idea.

And now we're going to have newsstand editions. Probably, anyway. Right now, the newly-slabbed newsstand issues aren't being broken out in the Census correctly, which may or may not be just a display error. But the community is pretty divided between people who are really excited about getting to incorporate newsstand editions into their sets (fair disclosure: I'm in this camp) to people who would rather not participate in the Registry at all if their sets are contaminated with slots for newsstand editions, to probably a cavalcade of intermediate stances. What probably needs to happen is for there to be someway to maintain current Complete sets but also allow a Really Absolutely Complete This Time tier of sets that includes newsstands also (but those still won't include foreign market republications, I assume, so...).

What would I do? It's somewhat academic, because no one has likely read this far. I'd try to standardize things. I'd make it clear that there are "title" specific sets (which can have "variants" versions), in addition to broad-focus sets with everything. I'd probably make numbered run sets only what they are (and not typically have variants or other shenanigans options). I'd like to think that for TWD above the set list would look like:

  • Walking Dead (2003) [Title]. Contains one slot for each of the 193 issues of the series, and nothing else.
  • Walking Dead (2003) [Title, Variants]. Contains god knows how many slots for the 193 issues of the series, their reprints and variant covers, but nothing else.
  • Walking Dead (2003) [#1-#48 Run]. Contains one slot for each of the 48 issues in the first storyline, and nothing else.
  • Walking Dead Survivors' Guide [Title]. Contains one slot for each of the 4 issues of the series.
  • Walking Dead [Broad]. Contains everything related to the setting, but only one slot per issue. My problem here is that I don't know how to define a set that includes all the random extras in the current Walking Dead (2003) set but excludes related titles like Walking Dead Deluxe or Walking Dead Survivors' Guide. For that matter, should we? Or should broad categories mean broad categories??
  • Walking Dead [Broad, Variants]. Same deal, but with all the options.

And what to do with newsstands? I think allowing them to have slots in the Variants sets as we have them now is clearly going to make a lot of people unhappy, but not giving them Registry space defeats the purpose of splitting them out. Obviously, I picked a dumb example title, because TWD doesn't have newsstand distribution. But if it did, I'd assume we'd want to permit an additional tier of "completeness" with additional sets titled... I don't know, like this?:

  • Walking Dead (2003) [Title, Variants/Distribution]
  • Walking Dead [Broad, Variants/Distribution]

...or something like that. That still keeps the foreign books out of the main Registry sets because there does seem to be a broad consensus that they're not wanted in the normal listings (and given the state of foreign book collecting and CGC labeling, I'm not going to belabor that point). Character appearance sets get a [Character] tag so no one confuses them with the inevitable series named after that character. Creator books can get a [Creator] tag; perhaps artist categories would be [Creator, Variants] by default since you want variant covers in an artist set, while a writer set is probably fine with one slot per physical issue unless someone wants both available. Some existing sets might not fit in the standardized rubric, and could probably be tagged [Legacy] to grandfather them in, with the understanding that future sets should follow the patterns where possible.

Edited by Qalyar
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Detaching book scores from any sort of 'value' seems to be the best bet. Allocating a set amount of points for each grade and making them consistent across all books might rile up some folks but to me might be the only way to clean up this mess. This would rid CGC of having to update the set scores constantly for random issues as prices spike and free up much time that would otherwise be spent wrangling daily updates and give @wytshus time for a vacation :D 

My main want, as many have also expressed interest in, is awarding a 100% completion bonus - as giving new collectors a chance to compete is paramount, and knowing that they are not priced out of competing (as now they could consider building a complete run with non-9.8 books and perhaps rank well). Also related to this completion bonus, I also once again ask that CGC reconsider their stance on NG books in the registry - they can simply be worth 1 point each, but should be allowed to be registered in a set to help towards total set completion (as many might want to collect something like a full Batman run, but can only afford a coverless copy of #1 - that is still impressive and is still a comic! I imagine many people are turned off from the idea of trying to complete an entire run knowing they can never afford certain early key issues and that buying coverless or incomplete books "don't count" in CGCs eyes as enough to slot into a set)

 

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On 10/15/2022 at 9:32 PM, Sauce Dog said:

Detaching book scores from any sort of 'value' seems to be the best bet. Allocating a set amount of points for each grade and making them consistent across all books might rile up some folks but to me might be the only way to clean up this mess. This would rid CGC of having to update the set scores constantly for random issues as prices spike and free up much time that would otherwise be spent wrangling daily updates and give @wytshus time for a vacation :D 

My main want, as many have also expressed interest in, is awarding a 100% completion bonus - as giving new collectors a chance to compete is paramount, and knowing that they are not priced out of competing (as now they could consider building a complete run with non-9.8 books and perhaps rank well). Also related to this completion bonus, I also once again ask that CGC reconsider their stance on NG books in the registry - they can simply be worth 1 point each, but should be allowed to be registered in a set to help towards total set completion (as many might want to collect something like a full Batman run, but can only afford a coverless copy of #1 - that is still impressive and is still a comic! I imagine many people are turned off from the idea of trying to complete an entire run knowing they can never afford certain early key issues and that buying coverless or incomplete books "don't count" in CGCs eyes as enough to slot into a set)

 

I think figuring out how to actually define sets in some sort of standardized fashion will be helpful if there are going to be completion bonuses.

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On 10/14/2022 at 9:52 PM, Yorick said:

I'd like to see a 100% completion badge (not a recurring badge every year like the "best set" - just one).  Anyone who achieves a complete set (minus variants) gets one.  It would certainly encourage more submissions.  :baiting:

If we are talking about 'awards' for 'competitive' sets then I also think that pictures and descriptions should somehow be tied to this completion bonus or whatever it ends up being called.  I know that they are the tie breaker when it comes to sets of equal points but I don't think any set should be in the top spots that don't have pics and descriptions of the books they are using to reach that spot.

Technically speaking someone could enter books that they don't even own in their sets if they aren't registered to someone else.  I initially started adding pics/desc because 1) I enjoyed it, and 2) to prove that I actually had the book in my collection (which is why I take all my pics on the same dumb looking table).  Later, it just became annoying to me that people would knock folks out of the competition while not caring enough to take a few pics, or to say anything about their books.

If it's really a contest (with real monetary rewards, plaques, and icons at stake) and if there are locations for pics and descriptions (as there are) then that should be a requirement to compete, not just a tie-breaker.  If your just going to enter a few books in a set, that's cool, but if you really want to 'compete' then I recommend something like:

* A set cannot advance into the top three spots in a Set Type without 100% pics and descriptions.

Lastly, I really don't understand the issue with points as long as all copies of the same book are equal, which is why I have a problem with newsstands (just a different copy of the SAME book) potentially being worth more points than the same direct issue.  I've already beat up the census reliability problem, as well at the 'variant' issue related to this so I won't do it again.  As long as each copy of the same book is equal within each set the competition will be fair.

Now, I understand that those of you that compete in the larger registry have problems with certain books being worth devestatingly more points... all I have to say to that is 'oh well!'  Unless my wife finally hits it big on the Slot Machine I will just never be able to own Action Comics 1, Superman 1, or any number of other books I'd love to own.  I really do wish my Gramps had squirreled away a bunch of Golden Age stuff but he didn't... I also didn't make the right life choices early enough to put myself in a position to be able to bid on those books now.  That's just too bad for me but it doesn't mean I get to change the rules so I can compete with the guys that were lucky enough or smart enough to own these books.  I'm happy to hang out with my few little sets as long as it's fair within them.

 

 

 

 

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A few thoughts:

I'm considering making all 9.0 Universal Scores 4 points, the minimum cover price.  It used to be $2.99 (3), but after 2015 or so, it's $3.99.  

The problem with this is there are some modern 1st issues that go for $4.99, and others that go for higher. 

 

But again, points do not equal market dollars.....ugh.

 

Not sure if this can be done globally in any reasonable amount of time. 

Or if it can be done without crashing the system.  It would probably have to be done in increments.  I have a dog and pony show with the new CTO Friday, and I will run this past him and my boss.

I want the algorithm to do the heavy lifting when it comes to points.  If I can deal with a standard Universal Score across the board, it would take a lot of weight off my shoulders.

 

As far as completion % goes, we do see that on our end.  It's the deciding factor when we choose award winners, along with descriptions and pics.  We usually start with the top 10 or 20 sets, generated by points, and the above criteria. Then we look at if the owner and/or set has won in the recent past. Another consideration is how often, and how recent changes were made.  We also look for originality, and the passion that comes through in the descriptions. 

 

The system only makes suggestions, my colleagues and I pick the ultimate winners. 

 

If you take a look at this year's winners, you will see what I'm talking about.

 

A 100% completion badge or indicator is a great idea, I just don't know if it's feasible coding wise. Again, I will run this past the powers that be.

 

More to come.

 

As for standardization of the sets....

There have been a lot of hands in this soup...heh.

 

 

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On 10/18/2022 at 7:53 AM, Iconic1s said:

with real monetary rewards

This is why people are in knots about the registry.  It is no longer just a fun side game to play.   But I understand why CGC is doing it.  I imagine there were not enough folks playing the game and they want to draw more attention to the registry.

On 10/18/2022 at 9:51 AM, wytshus said:

A 100% completion badge or indicator is a great idea, I just don't know if it's feasible coding wise.

With multiple variants of a single issue, I can understand how that might be difficult.  The badge would need to be a yes or no code based on issue number only (how I see it functioning).  However, I'm fairly certain that issue numbers are not part of the "scoring" system.  Perhaps it might be a code that runs separately from the scoring?

It would be great to see a multiplier effect of points when a Registry set hits the 100% mark.

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so a flat rate at 9.0?

Just a thought that I've been kicking around.  I think it would bring some sanity to the scoring system.  I could always go back and set Keys higher, then update twice a year.

There's just so many variables, and so much volatility.  Golden Age isn't so bad, they don't move much, and are stable for the most part. It's the Silver Age Keys that are giving me fits. Every time there's a new movie or T.V. show, the spec market freaks out.  

I'm trying to strike a balance between what's fair, and what's actually possible.  I have been scoring Universal 9.0s for Modern at 4 for a while now.  It cuts down on research time.  

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A few thoughts on set standardization:

 

After scoring, this is the biggest concern I have.  There are too many competitive sets in my opinion.  And there are a lot of sets that are too small, or too obscure, to ever qualify for an award.  On the other hand, I think if someone takes the time and money to get a book graded and slabbed, they absolutely should be able to add it to the registry.  

I have tried to mitigate the bloat by requiring a minimum of 3 first prints to qualify for a set. This helps a little, but there are still too many sets that have less than 10 slots.  

 

To cover ground already addressed by @Qalyar

Again, with Golden Age, this isn't really an issue. The problem starts with Silver Age and beyond.  There are some Silver Keys that have slots in way too many sets.  This is understandable, because those keys may have first appearances, crossover between different series, etc.  Then you have multi packs, newsstands, one shots, and foreign/price variants.  It only gets worse with Modern, due to the variant cover insanity...

 

 

The competitive sets really need to be cleaned up and streamlined, but it's hard to know where to begin, honestly.  I don't want to make any drastic changes until after next year's awards.  One thing I'm thinking about is just making all FOREIGN issues/variants non competitive. (I never want to delete existing slots/sets, but it might be necessary in the future.) I am also going to ask for a "Series Year" Field in the cert lookup.

Another idea I've been kicking around is new award categories.  1st Print only, Artist Centric, and a People's Choice Award, where we let the community vote on a winner.  

 

To be clear, these are just random thoughts that bounce around in my head, nothing is set in stone.

 

More to come.

 

(Edited for clarity)

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On 10/20/2022 at 1:13 PM, wytshus said:

There are too many competitive sets in my opinion.  And there are a lot of sets that are too small, or too obscure, to ever qualify for an award. 

I don't think this is necessarily true. To be perfectly honest, I think that every mini-series, maxi-series, or ongoing title that has ever been published should be able to be represented by a competitive set if someone is inclined to assemble one. If that's the only person in the world who cares about Vext (DC, 1999), Captain Canuck (Comely, 1975), or Adventures of the Jaguar (Archie, 1961) then that person is going to get the "best in set type" badge every year until the sun dies. And that hurts no one. The value of those little green ribbon icons is not lessened by having more of them distributed. Sure, the small, obscure, and/or unpopular titles will not win Best in [Foo] Age. But so what? Most sets won't, by definition. And who knows, maybe someday the world's only remaining superfan of Archie's Jaguar will put together something worthy of Best Presentation. We collect comic books; anything could happen.

On 10/20/2022 at 1:13 PM, wytshus said:

One thing I'm thinking about is just making all foreign issues and variants non competitive. (I never want to delete existing slots/sets, but it might be necessary in the future.)

No offense, but I hate this. Making all variants automatically non-competitive is a shorthand way of saying that your way of collecting books matters more than mine, when one of the guiding principles here on the boards (in theory, at least...) is that people ought to be free to collect how and what they like. It's also very anti-Modern, because for a lot of Modern sets, the variants -- of whatever form -- are the only things that are difficult to find, or worth bothering with. Even for older books, that might be true. That Adventures of the Jaguar collector might very well be disappointed to find out that his rare 15 cent price variant copies (I believe there are 5 issues with these!) wouldn't count for anything at all. To my surprise, there's even one 15c variant on the census right now, so this would be relevant if someone asked for a set for this book today!

Here's the thing. I want people to be able to have sets that display what they enjoy. I don't want that to take away from others' ability to have sets that display what they enjoy. Some people want one book per issue. Some people don't think newsstands are any different from direct market books, but still want cover variants and distinguishable reprints. Some people want as deep a collection of their preferred titles as they can get. And I think we should celebrate all of those options.

My interest in standardizing sets isn't to take away from the experience of people who want something different than I do -- or, for that matter, something different than you do, because I certainly don't want my sets to be exclusively first-print only. In general, the Registry does ... okay ... with the idea that there can be versions of a set with and without slots for variants (although I hate the "Complete" nomenclature; how about just "With Variants"), and I'm fine with the idea that we might need a third category for "...and newsstands too" (I like calling the latter "Specialist", as these sorts of things are called specialist collections in other collectors' hobbies). I'm not at all okay with the idea that only one of those gets to remain intact. On the other hand, I do want to help figure out a way to make the inclusion criteria for sets make sense. When it is limited to just one specific title? When is it an entire category or theme of books? Right now, that's the part that's the Wild West, and what I think needs to be re-examined.

Let's go with that hypothetical Captain Canuck collector, because that ought not single anyone out. We'll pretend that there are suddenly slabbed copies of this whole thing. It's a thought experiment, people! The title was a 14-issue run in 1975 from Comely Comix, but there are a ton of one-shots from various publishers (the 2014 Calgary Entertainment Expo exclusive Captain Canuck Summer Special is a moderately difficult book to find). And the series eventually got picked up and continued by Chapter House Publishing. Unusually for indies, that 1970s series has (for at least some issues) both direct market and newsstand distribution editions, but no variant covers; the later titles featuring the character sometimes have many variant covers. How do we represent this with sets? We could have:

  • Captain Canuck (Archie, 1975) [Title Only] -- this has only the 14 slots, one per issue of the title itself
  • Captain Canuck (Archie, 1975) [Title Only, Specialist] -- there is no "With Variants" here, because the only variants are newsstand editions; this slot has 14 direct market slots, plus one for each issue with NS copies.
  • Other titles with enough issues to count as a set could qualify for their own slots, too. Captain Canuck (2015, Chapter House) certainly, but not Captain Canuck Legacy, which was advertised as a miniseries but only saw 1 issue.
  • Captain Canuck [Category] -- this has one slot for every Captain Canuck book, from the original Archie series to the Chapter House stuff to the various one-shots.
  • Captain Canuck [Category, With Variants] -- same thing, but now Captain Canuck Legacy #1's 1000-copy special edition has its own slot, as do the retailer incentive covers of the 2015 Chapter House series, and so on.
  • Captain Canuck [Category, Specialist] -- as the previous one, but the 1975 newsstands have their own slots too.

If we did that, our Captain Canuck collector could get little green ribbons for 5 or more sets using effectively the same physical collection of books. But so what? You can't cash those in for CGC credit. It doesn't matter. It inflates their "total collection" point value, but that is literally the least useful thing the Registry offers. On the other hand, it means someone who just liked the original series can compete with their 14-issue nostalgic run without getting into the weeds or caring about some wacky revival series 30 years later, and if @Iconic1s decides that Captain Canuck is cooler than some dead Superman guy, there are sets available without the newsstands but with all the other goodies that made his sets so compelling. Everyone wins.

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