How can we best improve the writing contests?

Discussion in 'Writing Contests' started by Daniel, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    Agreed that there should be a way for people to vote for their favorite two. Would I prefer it be #1 and #2 favorites? Yes. But I'll take non-ranked over choosing just one.
     
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  2. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Supporter

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    That's already done for the poetry contests where there are more than a few entries, so it is possible even using the current site.
     
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    That, we can definitely do. I'll wait to see if there are more workable ideas and then... er... ask people to vote in a poll about how they would like to vote in polls going forward.
     
  4. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    This might also give the contestants a chance to vote which would be nice. I quite wanted to vote in the contest I entered but I wasn't going to vote for myself yet it seems counter-intuitive to vote against yourself in a contest. If contestants were able to vote for themselves and one other, would that allow them to have a meaningful vote without harming their own chances? (trying to get my head round that...)
     
  5. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

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    I'd preserve the ban on self-voting
    I always vote in contests I enter, there's almost always a story I like better than mine, and if I have to rely on my own ego to win, well....
     
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  6. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    I'm just finding my feet - I didn't realise that there was a ban on self-voting, it's just not cricket!

    But then if I voted for you and lost by one vote, I would feel a bit silly - I know it's just a bit of fun, but...

    However if I could vote for you and then obviate it with a self vote, I have cast my vote without self-harm - isn't that a good thing?
     
  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I've never had trouble voting for another story, like @Iain Aschendale. I'd rather lose by one vote than win by my own vote. But we debated it before and opinion was very divided, so it seems things never change. :D
     
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  8. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    So now I feel like an arse )c:

    I know it isn't the Booker, but it still seems odd to me to vote in a way which could damage your own chances. Maybe I spent too long in the city amongst bankers and lawyers...
     
  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Nono, not an arse. I do get what you're saying.
     
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  10. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    Like @Iain Aschendale I believed mine was the best story with zero votes and voters for other stories were semi-literate, adolescent gamers and harboured unreasonable prejudice against my narrative journey. I alone encourage self-voting (once again, the visionary stance). The current intolerable situation where a writer votes for the worst story rival written by a drunk German/Canadian shaman in his session - only to get to see the chart results - has in past events resulted in dire consequence & depression. MOBILE PHONE posted from Xmas party bedroom, solo.
     
  11. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

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    Okay, another thought but one that might be difficult to implement: Some sort of (very low bar) minimum membership requirement to enter the writing contests. I'm not going to go hunting, but I know there are at least a few "members" with zero posts, zero likes, and nothing in their profile who, when the names are unveiled, are shown to have entered the contests. I see these as a bunch of friends, or at least acquaintances, sitting round in a a circle seeing who can do it best, and when someone just repeatedly ghosts in without saying a word, drops an entry, and ghosts out, well... Not too cool in my book. Dunno if it could be implemented or not, but something similar to the Workshop posting requirements, two weeks and twenty posts?

    2yen
     
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  12. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    That's why I like @Iain Aschendale's suggestion of two votes.

    If I vote for him (and me) and he wins hands down, happy days, I have contributed and am a valuable human being. If it's close then I haven't shot myself in the foot and it's down to how everyone else voted. Extrapolate to all the contestants and non-contestants, and it's a great and very fair solution.
     
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  13. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    I know the abbreviations "LoL" and "ROFLMAO" - I would like to add QPMWL - Quietly Pissing Myself With Laughter
     
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  14. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    Or how about multiplying votes by post count*... (c:

    again, finding my feet here so haven't witnessed the ghosts of which you speak but, yeah, I get it




    *the UK recently had a referendum on membership of the European Union - I think I was alone in suggesting that each individuals vote should be weighted according to their IQ...
     
  15. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    I like the ‘new writers’ breezing in and grabbing a trophy and disappearing. It keeps us humble.
     
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  16. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

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    As @Tenderiser mentioned, this one has gone round and round with good, well-reasoned opinions on all sides. To me, it falls down to "If I can't win without my own vote, I don't deserve it." All the work I could do goes onto the page, and I maintain a strict policy of not mentioning the contest at all, not even in PMs, when I've entered so as to avoid even the slightest impression of electioneering. When I'm in a contest, I only comment (before the voting is closed) on which entry I chose, and don't offer my opinions on the others because I would have to either ignore my entry (thus giving myself away), praise it (thus electioneering), or trash it (thus potentially costing me votes from people who read the spoilers before they vote). My code, may not work for everyone, but if I was offered the chance to vote for my own work as well as another's and got only one vote, I'd feel.... like I won a Participation Trophy with a big round of applause from Mom and Dad.
     
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  17. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    There is that (c:
     
  18. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    Deleted

    Lost my trail of thought/undergoing minoi procedure
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  19. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Supporter

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    In the poetry competitions, the votes are available to see, even if you haven't voted. Perhaps that's a solution to the "vote for the worst story" problem?
     
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  20. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Supporter

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    Agreed. If you need to vote for yourself, it's a very weird world we'll end up in. I think banning folks from voting for their own stories should remain in place.
     
  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    you could do it with first and second - don't often get more than twelve entries. Or you could make multiple posts with 8 per post. Its still a bit of a faff (the voting plug in is the answer, its only $25 but that will have to wait til after xf2)
     
  22. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

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    If there were hundreds or even dozens of votes happening in each contest it might not be a problem, but I did a quick scan through the Flash Fiction contests, and it looks like they're averaging only five or so more total votes than entries. Assuming (assuming, possibly not true) that all the entrants are voting, that means that with single votes, you'd end up with totals of 3-2-2-1-1-1-1. Allowing two votes might shift that some, but you might as well give each story one default vote to start with.
     
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  23. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Contributor Contributor

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    The point is though, that there is no ban on self-voting to preserve. It's not possible to enforce a ban on self-voting when voting is anonymous. And it definitely looks to me like plenty of people are doing just that. So, regardless of what anybody thinks about self-voting, the actual end result is that the ones who do follow an unenforceable rule are unfairly penalized, as I said earlier.

    Also, someone mentioned earlier that no one would create a bunch of sock puppet accounts just to win. But no, when there aren't many votes just one sock puppet account could do it.

    I mean sure, it's just a little casual contest anyway. However, it can still take several hours to prepare for and to me anyway, it just takes the fun out of any contest or game when the controls are too loose.

    It reminds me of a trivia contest I recently took part in. Sure, just a little thing at a bar and the prize wasn't that big. But a couple of people kept getting on their phones after questions were asked, and received only repeated requests to please put them away. I won't be going back because why even bother to play at all, then?

    But personally, I very rarely participate anyway because it's not worth it to burn first publication rights on a story just to enter it in a small contest. It's a shame, especially on a writing forum, because I would really get a kick out of participating in the flash fiction contests in particular. I've brought these points up several times over several years already though so I guess that's just how it goes. :(

    ETA: I hope it's clear I'm not criticizing the contest admins. I know it's not their fault and wonderful of them to unselfishly donate their time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  24. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    That really was one of his best...:superlaugh:

    Back OT, no need to feel like an arse, Hammer. I totally understand your reasoning. You want neither an advantage nor disadvantage so you can get a truer picture of where your writing lands in the group. Totally understandable.
     
  25. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Supporter

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    I think the next iteration of the site should have a module to ban self-voting. When the stories are deanonymized at the end of a competition vote, it should be a simple programming matter to determine if someone voted for themselves. This doesn't solve sock-puppets, but at least it should be straightforward programmatically to implement for voting for themselves.
     

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