Information Finding Championship: Season 1 reflection (an IFC side quest)
With Season 1 of the [Information Finding Championship (also known as the @ifc)](https://steemit.com/@ifc) now behind us and planning beginning for the second season, I thought it would be nice to have a little reflection on what makes the @ifc (run by @apolymask) such a great addition to the Steem community and why I keep recommending it to both bloggers that are trying to find a creative spark and also to larger accounts and communities that are looking for worthwhile projects to support.
As a newcomer to Steem, I found that the weekly quests gave some structure to my early posting. Many of us arrive on Steem and quickly run out of things to write about. The @ifc gives a weekly point of contact for the newcomer, a focus to build you writing/posting week around that is uniquely catered to your particular strengths and interests, which is essential for retention of people on this unforgiving platform!
This is also an entry for the between [Seasons extra round](https://steemit.com/contest/@ifc/ifc-issues-to-vote-on-and-a-side-quest) to help find extra sponsors and supporters, as well as preparing for the new Season!
At it’s heart, the @ifc is a competition. However, there are a few things that set it well apart from the other competitions that are running on Steem. The [champion](https://steemit.com/contest/@ifc/ifc-championship-round-tie-breaker-results) that was determined by the Final Sixteen Playoffs ended up being the very worthy @youhavewings with an epic five round playoff against the eventual runner up, @magicalmoonlight.
In fact, the Final Sixteen Playoffs was characterised by a quite a number of high quality entries, with a regular flow of @curie (and other curation guilds) votes coming in at every round!
The large scale structure of the competition weighs in at around six months, this is an solid symbol of long-term dedication to the project from the team which includes @apolymask, @charisma777, @addempsea @xomegax, @bashadow and @kryptocek (amongst many others!). It also also means that players are invested in the long term participation of the contest (and by extension, the interaction with Steem), with nearly 40 players having scored at least one round point (and many many more having participated!).
The addition of the (optional) RPG-like XP system is an interesting take on the contest form, but it is one that doesn’t tie into the overall ranking of the end results but can add some additional quirks to the contest. Like being rewarded with single use powers like having a couple of days advance notice of a quest topic or being able to devise your own bonus quest round!
Then there are Bonus extra Quests which only eligible to be won by those who haven’t already won a round, thus allowing those who have only just entered a chance to get into the Final Sixteen for the play-off rounds. However, as we saw in the first Season, it was a pretty open guess as to who would make the Final Sixteen for the Championship, as it was definitely possible for new players to make the cutoff with a round win or two in the closing weeks of the Main Round.
So, what is the @ifc? At it’s most basic, it is a series (over 40 in the regular competition round) of “Quests”. These Quests are announced by @apolymask and they consist of a single creative hook upon which an entry is made. So, this hook could be as far-ranging and diverse as finding a [“Power Spot”](https://steemit.com/contest/@apolymask/information-finding-championship-season-1-round-20), [doing a photo treasure hunt](https://steemit.com/contest/@ifc/ifc-finals-first-round), [Music](https://steemit.com/informationfinding/@bengy/information-finding-championship-season-1-round-22-entry-music), [Philosophy](https://steemit.com/contest/@apolymask/information-finding-championship-season-1-round-26) or [Conspiracy Theories](https://steemit.com/contest/@ifc/ifc-finals-second-round-conspiracy-theories).
As you can see, the topics for each round are incredibly diverse. However, the thing that sets the @ifc rounds as unique is the fact that there is no limitation on the format that the entry can take! Write a long form serious blog post, take photos, do a video, write a satirical comedy entry, write music… basically do anything you like, as long as you can tie it back to the topic of the Quest! This means that the contest is really quite open to people of a wide variety of skills and talents, after all not all of us have either the time or inclination to write a 2000 word essay on a particular topic!
Throughout the 40 or so rounds of the regular season, there were quite a number of entries that received votes and curation from both @curie and later on @c-squared. As we moved into the Championship rounds, the already high quality of entries had a bit of a boost with the end in sight (and the prize pool!). The curation by various guilds (@curie, but also by other groups) was almost becoming a regular event!
The basis for the high quality of entries was the fact that every contestant was able to play each quest round according to their strengths. Fancy yourself a photographer, or a budding comic genius? You could format the post in a way that made it interesting for you, thus making it easier to compose a post that really highlighted the best of your knowledge or talents.
What can I say about the community? It is a tight knight, yet welcoming group of supportive individuals that hang out in the [IFC Discord](https://discord.gg/bKVnKQF). Most of us remember the struggles of being a plankton and we are all too willing to help each other out, be that through general support or specific gifts of artwork or advice.
Even in these depressed days of crypto (and the accompanying downturn in Steem), the IFC chatroom has a been a place to visit to connect with others whose friendship you have made via friendly rivalries in the @ifc game!
Midway through the first Season, a new side venture was launched to help creators connect with potential customers. Cunningly named the Marketplace, we now see that there are nearly 30 different individual stalls for people to hawk their wares. Things that people are selling range from jewelry, to artwork through to poems and other creative products. Just like a local art market, just on a global scale!
For a bit of a reference, my blog banner (@bengy, not my avatar) was purchased from one of these stalls for me as a gift by my fellow @ifc friend @plushzilla.
So, to ties things up. If you are looking for a deserving project to support that helps with the retention of newcomers, has the long term future of Steem in mind, has a friendly and supportive community that helps bloggers apply their talents in a free form manner that also produces interesting and high quality posts (phew, say that all in one breath!), then look no further! @ifc is all these things and more, drop in for Season 2 as an entrant… contribute a bit of spare SP via a delegation or help out with a round/ongoing sponsorship!
To end with, our Castle which was our virtual home for the first season was finally overrun by the Greys. It is time to give up our little home, and it appears that our new home will be a spaceship, travelling between worlds on our ongoing quest for information and knowledge!
Will the future take the form envisaged by [@plushzilla](https://steemit.com/makesteemitgreat-again/@plushzilla/ifc-all-star-round-short-story-an-old-ending-to-a-new-beginning) or by [@apolymask](https://steemit.com/writing/@apolymask/an-ifc-short-story)?
Account banner by jimramones