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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Entering contests but not voting in them.

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by GingerCoffee, May 12, 2014.

    I'm starting a new discussion on this because the other one started out as an announcement about the Flash Fiction contest voting matter and the side debate on authors not voting at all is really a separate issue. Also, please keep in mind, despite my putting this in the debate forum, this discussion is about opinions not facts. There is no right or wrong and people have different ways they view things.

    It's my opinion entering contests you don't then vote in, is akin to wanting critiques of your work in the workshop without ever giving anyone else the same in return. The result is we have a lot of contest entries then struggle to get a handful of people to vote in those same contests.

    We are all authors putting our works out there in all their naked glory exposed to the world. It's my opinion it's an important skill to get over being shy and self-effacing about our work. If you want to sell your work to an agent or a publisher, isn't confidence about the piece and about your work one of the skills necessary to do that?

    At the same time, can't we as authors be honest when we like our work or when someone else's is clearly better? I recognize people here who are far better authors than I am all the time, and some that are much worse. Why should that change because a 'contest' is involved? You compete, you put your best work out there, you want to win. I know there's a psychology to that recognition. I'm proud to have one medal after my name even though I think only 4 people voted for my winning story.

    But I was just as proud of my sci-fi contest entry even though it wasn't the best story. It needed work but I also got some positive feedback about it that was very satisfying. And it got three votes! Maybe that meant 3rd place for 3 people, but I think that's exciting. Speaking from experience, votes are flattering even when a story loses.

    And for stories that get no votes, that's because there are a lot of good writers in this community, not because the story was necessarily bad. I can't recall a poorly written story in the last half dozen contests. In fact, I've been impressed at how good the stories have been, even those that got no votes.


    I had no idea how many authors were entering stories then not voting. I just assumed authors who entered stories would of course recognize the importance of then voting on them. I get it some have their self-effacing reasons, not wanting to say they actually do like their story the best. Or they want to win and don't want to vote against themselves if theirs is not the best story. (The latter reason I have a harder time digesting, but whatever.)

    The contest is about recognition. In the short story contest, don't be afraid to recognize yourself. At the same time, what good is recognition if it's fake? Recognize someone else if they deserve it. I ask people that enter the short story contest to also vote. I'd make it a requirement if it were up to me and there was a way to police that.

    @Lewdog wishes authors to vote in the Flash Fiction contest but asks they not vote for themselves. If all the authors did that, it would be a wash, you can't vote for your own, but neither can the other guy. I think the outcome of such a system is equally good as long as all the authors vote. If one votes and the others don't then it does give an unfair advantage to those not voting. That's not good.

    So either way works: authors allowed to vote for their own or not allowed to vote for their own, as long as all the authors vote!

    I may make a new rule, if there are 6 entries and only 5 votes plus mine, I may declare the contest void. ;)
     
  2. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Facts are facts, if the vote isn't public, you can't police whether someone is being moral and voting for their own piece because they truly think it is the best, or because they just want to win.

    Since the person is a no longer a member here, I'll tell WHY this came about. I had the rule not to vote for your own entry, but then MLM sent me a message asking if it was a suggestion or a rule. I said it was a rule and then explained exactly why. Then not a few minutes later there was a change in the poll where he got another vote. Do you think he voted for his own despite being told it was against the rules? I can't say for sure, because voting isn't public. Thus the change in voting being public. One of my points in not voting for their own, unless there is some type of collusion, it creates more variance in the voting. I sometimes enter, but don't vote, because I know the authors of the entries and I don't want to be accused of favoritism. Some people say they trust me, but it only takes one person to cause a headache over it for it to be a problem, therefor I have nipped that in the bud from the get go.

    I came up with an idea for an award for people who do vote, where a medal for certain marks of voting like 25, 100, and 500 receive a medal. The problem with that is that in order to keep track voting would have to be public, and some administrators don't want voting to be public.

    So we then reach a point where if you think there is a problem, instead of pointing out other's inadequacies, maybe you should look for solutions instead. That was a very wise managing technique that I have acquired from my many years of management. Nothing good ever comes from only looking at the failures, you need to search for, and embrace solutions.
     
  3. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    If you enter and don't vote, you can no longer participate? I guess the votes would have to be public to track that, though.

    or

    Like so many schools these days, there are no more winners and losers. IF you enter, you get a participation medal:rolleyes:!
     
  4. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I want a Halloween coupon to Big Boy instead or a ribbon.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So when I said an open poll rule shows lack of trust, I was right?

    Is this directed at my having a different opinion about the definition of a problem in this situation?
     
  6. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    No first it has nothing to do with distrust, it has to do with rules that can and can not be enforced. When contests are decided many times by just one vote, allowing people the leeway to vote for their own, is doing an injustice to people who really should win a contest but might not. So in order to stop that, the best thing is set rules that can actually be policed. I can't say what a person is or is not thinking, but what I can control is if a person can vote for their own entry or not. Maybe I'm too analytic but it makes perfect sense to me.

    Yes the second part IS directed at you. You started this thread to point out the problem but didn't give a solution. I know there is a problem and I came up with a solution that you didn't like. So for this to be constructive, you should work towards a solution, and not just complaining about the problem.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My solution is to have an open, honest, discussion with the non-voting authors about the problem.
     
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  8. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I honestly don't see the issue when it comes to voting for yourself.

    I've only entered one short-story contest, and I only received one vote: mine. I thought I had been keeping up on the entries. I believed I had read every story and found mine to be the best. As it turns out later, I missed one. And that was the story that had won. Was it better than mine? Absolutely. Had I seen it before I voted, I probably would have voted for it. But I like to think that I am an unbiased writer. I understand when people are better than me.

    BUT, on the other hand, there are people who believe their work is the best, even if it's not. So they may vote for themselves. If that's the case, what's the harm? The contest may end up tied. But then the admin can just recruit someone to break the tie. Another contest admin or the current contest admin, if they feel they can make the judgment fairly. I almost think it's unfair to ask them not to vote for themselves. Because what if their story IS the best? Then they either vote for someone who wasn't as good (which is tainting the results) or they don't vote at all (which doesn't help voting turnout).

    As for the voting thing, I must admit, I don't vote often. Maybe every other contest. I think the biggest issue for me is that I don't want to read through every entry. I know it's posted at the start to read the first paragraph and move on if it doesn't jive with you. But for some reason, it still just feels like such a daunting task, looking at how much text is displayed on the page. I'm sure I'm the only one who feels this way, as laziness is hardly a good excuse. lol But maybe you could put each story in a spoiler or quoted box, that way only the beginning is visible. Then you can choose to expand it or not depending on how you feel? Maybe then it wouldn't look so intimidating.

    But again.. I'm probably just crazy. :rofl:
     
  9. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm for public voting, required author voting, and in turn, no self-voting.

    If every author is required to vote for another author, it's unlikely that they will ALL vote for random stories, totally leveling the playing field. I think its more reasonable to assume the better story will get more votes.

    Ooh! We should gather up all of our suggestions into a poll. You can vote for your suggestion if you really think it's better, but please try to vote for what you think is the best overall:rofl:.
     
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  10. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that deciding on the best story is often a very difficult task. If one of the stories is your own, any kind of impartial judgement would be near impossible. Inevitably, when reading your own work you would understand everything as intended and see depth and richness that other readers wouldn't see. Knowing that voting for your own story is likely to be a biased judgement, might discourage you from voting.

    I'm sure that everyone has the ability to recognize work that greatly exceeds the quality of their own. But I expect it takes significant ability to recognize work that only slightly exceeds the quality of you own. And if you have this ability, then you've probably written the best story anyway.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
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  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm fine with a clear, very clear, can't-miss-it communication that you are asked not to vote for yourself, and then trusting that people will follow that rule. Yes, this could mean that won-by-one-vote winners win by breaking the rule/guideline/convention, because the rule can't be enforced. So be it.

    As for whether people ought to be required to vote... I don't know. I'm inclined to be against it, because if you're required to vote in order to be allowed to participate, there's a motivation to "just pick one." I'd rather know that a smaller number of votes all came from fully informed voters. I'm fine with a social expectation that if you're going to participate you ought to, at least occasionally, take the time to read everything and vote. But I think that enforcing it is going to produce those sloppy votes.
     
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  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Which if requiring one vote if one enters is on the honor system, just picking any story randomly is less of a risk.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would prefer--again, purely on the honor system--a social convention that you really ought to vote, properly, after reading everything, in one contest for every one contest that you enter. But it doesn't have to be the same contest.
     
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  14. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Kind of like the workshop where you have to critique twice before posting? You have to vote in two to compete?
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think voting in a contest you didn't enter is a fine solution to not wanting to vote in one you are in. Perhaps it should be two adjacent time frame contests, one before and after, two before or two after.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but not "have to". Any enforcement whatsoever is just begging for meaningless votes and the destruction of the whole purpose of the contest.

    (Edited to change meaningful to meaningless, because it didn't make sense before.)
     
  17. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    What makes you think the votes would be meaningless? Are the mandatory critiques meaningless. You're just as negative as @Lewdog :rolleyes:
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    No; if it's not going to be enforceable, then I don't see any reason to make it too specific. The main message is that if you have entered more contests than you've voted in, then feel guilty and get that fixed.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The mandatory critiques are right there in front of people, so you have to make them meaningful. But there's no structure for making sure that you paid attention to what you were voting for.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I get it but I just don't have that issue personally. Like I said earlier, I know when writers are better than me and when they are not. Maybe it comes from attending a critique group every two weeks for the last 2 years, you start to recognize skill and the lack of it.

    I go back to the matter that, as authors we benefit from an honest appraisal of our work. When you see someone defending everything in critique, you know that person is likely to bring unimproved writing back the next meeting. So clearly some people can't see their own work objectively.

    But some people vote for crap stories that aren't their own as well. Maybe they liked the subject better than a more well written piece. That's where more votes naturally correct the outliers.

    When we do begin to write well, self confidence is OK to have.
     
  21. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe there's a Brady Bunch episode that can teach us all about the importance of voting
     
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  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    One can make a requirement mandatory with no consequences for not meeting the requirement. I've used that with controversial employee policies to let the employee know management expects compliance, while not punishing those who chose not to comply. It might sound counterintuitive but management expectations motivate employees and sometimes compliance is important but not critical. If you say it's voluntary the employee doesn't note the managements' actual position on the policy.
     
  23. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps the whole voting system could be rethought. If we had a list of criteria and each story was judged (good/moderate/poor) on each criteria, then at least people would be encouraged to think about the stories more thoroughly and hopefully the results would be more meaningful.
     
  24. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    So what happens when people that like poetry but not short stories doesn't want to read 3,000 word stories in order to enter a poetry contest or vice verse?
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Are you kidding? People don't want to commit 15-20 minutes to read the stories. If you increased that burden with a whole grading system no one would vote.
     
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