Comp/jam/minicomp categorization

(Is there a preference as to whether I do a forum post or a talk page post for this kind of thing?)

The Competition, Minicomp, and Jam categories are a bit of a mess. Some events that explicitly have “minicomp” in the name are only in the comp category. Some events in the minicomp category do not, in fact, appear to be mini. Some events in the comp category weren’t actually comps, while SeedComp is in the jam category. There was some discussion of this same issue here years back: Talk:Categories (style guide) - IFWiki.

I’d be happy to start sorting this out, but what do people think the categorization should be? Do we need the “minicomp” subcategory? If so, how do we define what is and isn’t a minicomp? Is distinguishing between comps and jams useful? Etc.

My thought is that it would be most useful to distinguish between ongoing annual comps/jams (IFComp, Spring Thing, Parsercomp, Ectocomp, etc.) and events that have ceased or were one-time only. So I would probably put every jam or comp in a big “Competitions & Jams” category (well, the main page at least—i.e., the overall IFComp page would go in that category, but pages for individual years of IFComp would just go in the IFComp subcategory), and then have subcategories for active events and past events.


It used to be that you would manually add categories to a given event page, but with the new event database, I’m not sure that’s true anymore. I think once an event is added to the database via the form, categories might be added automatically based on what you choose on the form. The talk page there dates from before the forms.

I believe that name (“Competition,” “Jam,” etc.) is used in the infobox, so it might just be a question of which word you want to show up there. I think on the front page, Competitions and Jams are grouped together anyway.

I agree the dividing lines between these events can be fuzzy. I don’t know if it would make sense to display the more specific name (Competition, etc.) in the infobox, but then just toss all of them into the “Competitions and Jams” category regardless when it comes to an actual category name?


In that case, maybe it makes the most sense to start by sorting everything into either jam or comp (and fixing those that are currently in the wrong category), and worrying about the subcategories later?

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As of right now, the only options on the form are conference, meeting, competition, and jam, so if anything is labeled minicomp still, that probably means that either that event hasn’t been added to the database yet, or it’s been added, and no one deleted the old category on that page.

I guess I would try to figure out if we like the form options as they are, or not, and once we are sure we like the options, delete any old category tags from event pages if they aren’t on the form. And yes, use the form to sort the events.

(Personally, I don’t really see a need to have a separate “minicomp” category. I think that might just make it more complicated to sort things than it already is.)

Also, you might be interested to read this thread: Jam vs competition


Ahh, that thread is interesting… Seems like nothing really got resolved, butt I see that this was a popular suggestion: Jam vs competition - #18 by 8bitAG. Especially after reading through that thread, separating them really doesn’t seem to make sense since there is no clear definition as to what makes something one or the other.

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I’m inclined to agree. And the infobox I guess could say “Competition or Jam,” which is a little awkward, but maybe that’s better than spending time agonizing over which category to put something in.

Or “Competition/Jam” in the infobox. That might make it look like a combination competition and jam, but people will probably figure it out.

Or we could just say “Competition” in the infobox regardless. I don’t know.

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Competition/Jam seems fine to me!

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Yep, combining the competition and jam categories into one overarching category sort of makes sense. Then we split them into two smaller categories, the competitive/ranked and noncompetitive/unranked ones. The former will have a sub-category for Awards that the XYZZY and IFDB Awards will go under. The competitive category will include things like IFComp, Spring Thing, Text Adventure Literacy Jam, Parsercomp, Ectocomp, and the like. The noncompetitive category will include things like all the SpeedIFs, all the Neo-Interactive Jams, showcases like the IF Art, IF Arcade, IF Whispers, IF Short Games Showcase and so on. The minicomp catgory is already redundant if we reclassify those stuff in there by their criteria.

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This is essentially a continuation of the topic mentioned above, Jam vs competition. There are at least two characteristics we’re trying to track. This is as close as I could get to understanding the complex competition/jam dichotomy:

Some of the old “MiniComps” had both those features, as do some recent “jams”. But by the same definition, though, some competitions call themselves jams, and some jams call themselves competitions.

We chose four event types (competition, jam, conference and meeting) for the new database – together with the concept of event series – in the knowledge that we might have to revisit it when the dust settled. Part of letting the dust settle is seeing what happens when people add the old event pages to the new event database, and have to choose an event type. We will probably add a new “Other event” type as an interim measure to see what other ideas we get (see Form talk:Event - IFWiki).

The old categories coexist with the new event database. Every event in the database is automatically added to a category (Competitions, Jams, Conferences, Meetings). For example, ECTOCOMP 2019 - IFWiki is now in the database but still is in its pre-existing Ectocomp category, and PunyJam 4 - IFWiki has automatically been put in the Jams category.

At the beginning I didn’t see the point of a separate “jam” event type but now, despite the nebulousness, I think it serves a purpose. For instance, I get the impression that people use the fact that a game was written in a limited timeframe for a minicomp or jam as a proxy for quality, just as they might use the voting results of a competition. Having said that, I don’t have strong views. An alternative might be combining both into “Competitions and jams” and having checkboxes for “Voting: Y/N” and “Creation time limit: Y/N”.

The ultimate answer is to convert all the event pages to use the database, and to keep the event types under review. This is as easy as clicking “Edit with form” and filling in the boxes.

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That was a long-winded way of saying let’s put all old events into the database (“Edit with form”) – with each individual minicomp being classified as either a Competion or a Jam.

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What if the rules of an event change over time, like ParserComp, which originally had a creation time limit, and doesn’t anymore? For the series overall, would you leave that field blank?

I guess you’d also have to decide if judging counts as voting. The IF Art Show had judges, from what I can see.


I wouldn’t do that at all, as it would just make things more complicated. I quite like the simplicity of having some things “Jams” and some “Competitions”, and leaving the readers to make their own assumptions :slight_smile:

But if I were to do it, I’d likely have the series as being whatever the event currently is (e.g. ParserComp, voting yes, creation time limit no), and the events separately (e.g. ParserComp 2015, voting yes, creation time limit yes). I’d count judging as voting for these purposes.

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Competitions, Jams, Competitive Jams, Semi-Competitive Jam Things, and Nobody Can Agree on What Kind of Event This Is


I’d view Competitions as events where entries are judged/voted on, regardless of time limit, while Jams would be more unranked events, imo.


I guess my problem with doing this is not knowing how to decide which category is best, because there aren’t set definitions or a clear line between the two. I could just pick what seems best to me, but then someone else might have to go through and re-categorize them all later.

For the purposes of the current Revival Jam (would insert link here except that I’m on mobile), which is what got me looking into old events, I didn’t care whether something was classified as a comp versus a jam, I just wanted to know what sort of themed events the community had held in the past, and I found the current IF Wiki categorization made that more difficult than it should have been.

Edit: To add to this, I think having the separate jam and competition categories implies that there is a firm line between the two that in actuality doesn’t exist, and that’s part of my issue.

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Revival Jam: Revival Jam -


If we were to change it we would have to:

  • Change the options on the data entry form from “Competition” and “Jam” to just “Competition/Jam”.

  • Change the database allowed values for the event “Type” field from “Competition” or “Jam” to “Competition/Jam” (keeping the other types the same).

  • Change the data entry form accordingly.

  • Change the field value for every existing page that’s in the database, from “Competition” or “Jam” to “Competition/Jam”. I could do a couple of site-wide text replacements for that.

  • Change the code in:

    • the template that shows the infobox etc;

    • the main page calendar;

    • the event lists on the main page and elsewhere.

  • Change all existing pages in the categories “Competitions” and “Jams” instead to be in the category “Competitions and Jams”. This would be possible in a similar way, but a bit more long winded.

I’m tempted to keep things as they are until all events are in the database! Then we will be better informed about all the edge cases that are hiding from us now, and can be more sure of what changes to make.


That’s probably the easiest/less-headache-bearing way :joy:

Maybe have a rank/unranked or judged/unjudged distinction?

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That sounds better. See my comment above for what goes in the ranked/unranked (that is, competitive/noncompetitive) categories.

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How about this?

  • If it involves any element of competition (eg voting, judging, winners, prizes), it’s a Competition.

  • If it produces games without any element of competition, it’s a Jam.

  • These rules apply no matter what the title or description of the event (eg ParserComp 2015 was a Jam, and the Winter TADS Jam 2021-22 was a Competition).

  • But if you really don’t feel it’s either, then select Conference, Meeting or (if/when we add the option) Other event.