I think it would be good for the game if, in addition to the 8 candidates already being selected for synthesis by player vote, an optional additional 1 to 2 candidates were also to be selected - only by vote of the EteRNA Staff, and only from among those solutions not already in the player-voted top 8 - to also be synthesized.
This would allow the input of the very most knowledgeable and experienced people associated with the game to elevate the most promising and deserving of the lesser known and newer players’ submissions, which did not make the player-vote cut, for some reason (perhaps due to guru-following, or perhaps due to fears of losing points by not voting for a winning design, or perhaps just due to players not having time to examine every entry) - to still be synthesized.
This could conceivably lead to some “dark-horse” winners. It would certainly help the newer, less experienced players to become recognized, and would also be instructive to the more experienced players as well, as they see which (if any) of the solutions outside the player-voted top 8, were deemed worthy by the EteRNA Staff of deserving of synthesis through this optional “Staff-Picks” process. Even current top players could benefit - especially if some unusual or very different design were to be selected in a Staff Pick, and ended up scoring very well; it would end up being a very instructive case. Staff could include their reasons for selecting these designs, and this would also be very instructive in itself.
Staff would be free to select none if none were deemed good enough, or up to 2 if there were several deemed to be promising from among the solutions left unselected after player vote. If instituted, this idea could also have a very positive effect on player interest and involvement, as players’ chances for synthesis of their designs would no longer lie solely with the player community (with its possible weaknesses of “popularity contest” voting, “guru-following” voting, “pile-on-effect” voting, and un-knowledgeable player voting.) Instead, there would also be the possibility that, if one’s design were not to make the player-vote cut, if deemed worthy enough by the staff experts, it could still be synthesized.
I think this is an idea that could level the playing field, as the Top Staff Experts add their RNA evaluation expertise to the mix, and as newer, yet unrecognized players with good abilities and good design capabilities find that, via this mechanism, they are still able to compete successfully among more experienced, more established, and more well-known players.
Thanks, and Best Regards,