1. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    Question [Solved] If you enter, do you have to vote for a story in the flash fiction contest?

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by HelloImRex, Apr 12, 2016.

    I'm not really sure where to put contest questions and I'm not confident enough to put it in the contest section. Anyway, I was thinking about entering the next flash fiction contest and decided to see how the voting works.

    "Please read these entries and vote for the one you think is the most
    deserving of the bunch. Please do not vote for you own. Voting ends on the 1st of May at 6pm EST. Remember that this contest will be public and you cannot see the vote tally until after you have voted. Please make sure to vote and encourage others to as well."

    Basically, this is what I'm confused about. I get you can't for your own, which is kind of weird, and requested to vote for another story, which when coupled with the previous weirdness is beyond weird. What I don't get is if you must vote for another story or if that is just a request and you can choose to vote for no one and forfeit the right to see how the votes are stacking up. If its like looking at a credit score where it goes down as soon as you look I would rather not look. If I voted for another story it would reduce my chances of winning. Therefore, if I really had to vote the best option would be to vote for the story that is least likely to get votes and claim it was the most deserving since there's no way keep people from doing that. I feel like everyone would do that though so maybe voting for the best story would be the smartest... Yeah, I don't know. I feel like these rules really create mind games that wouldn't be present if you could just vote for yourself or if you didn't have to vote. If you are allowed not to vote then no one votes and the winner is decided by people who didn't enter. that seems the most fair. While it sort of says you have to vote for something (Well, it just says "please", commands don't usually begin with please, "please" can usually just be met with "no".), I just can't really believe that would be the rule system because it doesn't make any sense. I get it's not a serious contest and you don't win anything important, but its still a contest and I must treat it like a competition and ensure I have the best chances of winning possible. That's what anyone should do. That's how contests work. If you don't really want to win, why enter?

    So before entering, I want to see if I would be forced to play mind games during the voting round or if I could opt out of voting. That will determine if I enter the next contest because the mind games part of it would suck. I don't really want to be giving out a vote because it's the best thing for my chances.

    Its not an issue where I think I'm the best and will be in contention for any contest. I just believe in the philosophy of "always try your best". Voting for someone else's story actively goes against that if your goal is to win the contest because it would've been an objectively better attempt not to vote for that story.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Important to remember that the wording in the bit you quoted is not all directed at you, the entrant, but to everyone looking at the thread. The last bit: "Please make sure to vote and encourage others to as well" is speaking to everyone in general. If you enter you don't have to vote. No one is tracking that, trust me. We have other things to do and, contrary to quietly, commonly held belief, the staff are not A.I. code beings inhabiting the software. We are flesh and blood and we have dinners to prepare and lawns to mow, work to go to, spouses to engage with. ;) Don't take this the wrong way, but you're making it more complicated than it is.
     
  3. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    It would be nice if the people who entered the contests were actually barred from voting by the software and only allowed to see the votes that pile up. It's also a little disappointing how much traffic this site gets and how few people participate in the contests (both entering and voting.)
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Help us think of a way to improve voter and participant turn-out and I'll be all ears. In the past I've gone to ridiculous lengths to promote contests, but one man's steam is only so much.

    http://www.writingforums.org/threads/im-having-difficulty-describing-boobs.131071/
     
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  5. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    "I'm just here to complain about problems... don't expect me to fix them."
    -- Said every teenager everywhere
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That suggests you don't trust authors to be honest about their work. I prefer to trust them. And some people vote for their own because they really do like what they've written. Others refrain from voting which is fine, but we don't have enough people voting as it is.

    Very disappointing. But I keep trying to get more people to vote. :)
     
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  7. BruceA
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    BruceA Senior Member Supporter

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    I enter the competition because it is a challenge for me to come up with a new piece of writing within a shortish period of time. I hope to win on the basis that my writing is the best I can produce (if it is not then even if I won I would feel I had cheated). Often, you are up against people who have written either a better story or one that fits the theme better than yours. Just because you don't win doesn't mean your story was rubbish. I usually pretend my story is not in the group and vote for the best story out of the others (if all the stories are terrible - and this hasn't happened yet- I guess I wouldn't vote.) I can't judge my own work and compare it with others I am too close to it, so it wouldn't be fair for me to vote for it (personal opinion). It gives me a warm glow to know that even if I didn't win, people liked my story enough to vote for it.
     
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  8. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    Its not that I think I'm bad if I lose, its that if I vote for someone else I by definition didn't give my best effort. Say someone else's story wins by one vote and you voted for it and they didn't vote for yours. Then you and them single-handedly decided the contest by basically screwing with the process. Because I am biased I must vote for my work if possible because that's the only logical choice and I would expect anyone else to do the same. In my opinion that would keep things most fair. Not voting at all is the other fair option if voting for yourself is disallowed. That seems harder to police though. Having contestants muddle up the voting by pretending they don't have a bias towards their own when that is an impossibility just creates mind games even if people do so with the best intentions. Maybe I'm being cynical, but there's probably a reason this system of voting isn't a thing in any other contest I've ever seen. People are usually either expected to vote for themselves or not at all.

    But I'm not forced to vote for someone else's entry in any contest as pointed out by Wreybies so it's really a non-problem. The system as is isn't broken, just encouraged toward being broken. I guess the problem is not enough people outside of the contest vote and the solution is to have the people inside the contest try to vote without bias. To be fair, I can't think of a better fix so I probably should quit criticizing it. Maybe voters need to get some meaningless badge or something if they've voted however many times. An "I voted" badge if you will. But then people might just vote for random stuff so then there would have to be some other safeguard like write three sentences about the entries and why you picked the one you did. Well, that's my crack at a solution. I'd only give it a 5/10 but if it was a contest to come up with the best solution to this problem I would probably still vote for it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  9. BruceA
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    BruceA Senior Member Supporter

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    I think you are looking at this all wrong. These competitions are an opportunity to show off your writing skills to everyone else (as well as helping you develop your skills, and a chance to read other people's take on the same subject). If you win by one point (because somehow you managed to play the system) with a crap story everyone will read it and go 'well it won, but it was still crap, so and so's was better'. Just write your story, post it, vote for yourself (if you must) and stop worrying about trying to win.
     
  10. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I really don't get that attitude! I can't believe someone would go so far as voting for the "worst" story just to improve their chances of winning. It's not like you get a prize or anything... not that that would make it LESS calculating.

    I've always voted for the story I thought was best, excluding my own. Once that led to my favourite story being tied with mine for first place. It was funny and no, I wasn't kicking myself. I was honoured that people thought mine was as good as that one.

    I'm as competitive at the next person but these contests really are about taking part, not winning.

    And thanks for the reminder to go and vote...
     
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  11. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    Some suggestions...

    I'd say the fortnightly time frame is too quick. Maybe the turn around should be monthly. It gives people time to do something. I think the only topic I was interested in entering so far was "Kingdom Come". I had an idea but I didn't have enough time to get around to executing it. So if I had a month...maybe ... :meh:

    You should also consider giving some sort of incentive for people to vote.

    For example, we have new people joining all the time, can this not somehow be added to their probation credits? So they can post or even better, they can go do some voting. It's worth encouraging newbies to have a peek so they know the kind of talent on this forum. I'm not sure if you have already, but maybe make a strong note of it in the welcome letter. Although I'll be honest, I didn't read your welcome letter...:ohno: But maybe others do. Stick it up on the boards somewhere. Reply to people's hello message and say, 'Don't forget to vote!' Most importantly CREDIT these noobs as recognition of their contribution.

    And while it's lovely to get a medal, maybe you can add an extra incentive by having an annual WF newsletter or eBook of all the winning stories. Keeping in mind, it would have to be monthly comps so you don't have too much material. But then I suppose there might be copyright issues. The point is, it might nice for the winning writers to be able to refer back to an official doc when talking to editors and publishers rather than some random post.

    Maybe all the above has already been implemented and I just never realized, but that's all I could think of. Good luck!
     

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