How can we best improve the writing contests?

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

  1. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    8,857
    Likes Received:
    15,628
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    Especially if it could only be seen by the contest admin/mods. It honestly never occurred to me that people might be violating the ban. Arguing against it, sure, but if I knew that someone was actually cheating... Ugh.
     
  2. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    1,558
    And then not all of the contests even say to not vote for yourself. So it does kind of leave participants in a double bind and is vague anyway.

    Also, not sure if this is do-able or not but just for brainstorming, perhaps the contests themselves could be taken off-site. Then whatever changes the admins agree with could be implemented. (This same discussion has been going on for years).
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  3. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    1,088
    Location:
    Playground of Dorothy and Tinman
    I recently found out that the voting in the poetry thread isn't anonymous either. So, at least there, it's possible to see whether someone voted for their own work. I'm not bothered by people knowing how I vote, I often crow it from the rooftops, but others may think differently.
     
    Shenanigator likes this.
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    18,294
    Likes Received:
    6,703
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    bold mine

    You are not alone.

    Your objection is unique, the voter not allowed to vote for oneself does the opposite, votes for the worst story.

    I liked my short stories and someone else did too because two of them were published.

    My POV: can we not trust people to vote honestly? Is everyone suspect if they like what they wrote?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
    dbesim likes this.
  5. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    8,857
    Likes Received:
    15,628
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    So, without any means of verifying votes, we have:

    One vote, unenforceable "Don't vote for yourself" rule yields some people voting for themselves, some people voting defensively for the "worst" story, a few entrants voting for the best story, and the non-entrants also voting for the best story.

    One vote, voting for yourself allowed: Everything rests on the shoulders of the 5-6 people who didn't enter but bothered to read and vote.

    Two unweighted votes, voting for yourself allowed: Every entrant casts one vote for themselves, then resumes voting defensively for the drunk French-Canadian. However, this means that the non-entrants have more clout, as they can choose two stories that they honestly like, which would still probably cluster on a single winner, but assuming that the Drunken Non-Native speaker's story was genuinely awful, might stop him from winning (four defensive votes from the eight entrants, the other four sincerely, none from the five non-entrants, with their 10 votes clustering around 2-3 stories.)

    Really, the best defense against most types of malfeasance lies in making voting in the contests more popular. With the way things are now, eight stories garnering a total of fifteen votes between them, it does make a difference if I vote for myself, the drunken non-English speaker, or the story I genuinely think is best. If there were a hundred votes divided up among the same eight stories, it would be a non-issue (unless I rent that Cambodian botnet I've had my eye on and rack up 32,000 new member votes in a DDOS that crashes the site. Might be a little unsubtle even for me though.)
     
    matwoolf and Shenanigator like this.
  6. Hammer

    Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2018
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    832
    Location:
    UK
    I never realised that these simple contests were a minefield, sprinkled with broken glass, and doused in Anthrax spores

    Tactical voting for the worst story, self-voting, sock-puppets...???? Really?????

    It seems that there is nothing so vile as the human. The only absolute solution would appear to be hosting the contests elsewhere (major hassle, cost, and not bullet-proof) or stopping them, which would be a terrible shame; as a newbie I really enjoyed the challenge of writing to a prompt, the challenge of writing in forms I had never tried before, and the thrill of someone out there taking the trouble to read my work, and the extra bonus thrill of them actually liking it. I am not going to go away thinking that anyone voted for my work because it was the worst and therefore no threat. No sir. Not me. although... now that seed is sown...
     
    Mark Burton likes this.
  7. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    8,857
    Likes Received:
    15,628
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    Your English is quite good for ze fellow of France....
     
    matwoolf and Hammer like this.
  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,372
    Likes Received:
    9,735
    Location:
    London, UK
    I think we just need to accept that these are very casual contests, with no monetary prize, and most of us on WF are honing our craft and having fun rather than actively seeking publication or trying to make money. Are there ways to cheat? Yes. Would removing those options have a negative effect on the contests, by making them more complicated and voting less convenient? Yes. Is it really a victory if you cheated to win? No.

    IMO we need to treat the contests as a way to practice and improve our writing. If we do that, it doesn't matter how the voting goes - we still achieved our goal.
     
    BayView, Carly Berg and Hammer like this.
  9. Hammer

    Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2018
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    832
    Location:
    UK
    I am about as French as knotted hankies and ankle socks... my brother did do some research which suggested that one branch of the family goes back to William the Conqueror - he was trying to prove that we were descended from royalty I think. He did go waaaaaaaay back and find a very imporant tetrapod...
     
    matwoolf likes this.
  10. Hammer

    Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2018
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    832
    Location:
    UK
    Absolutely.

    Goal met for this newb anyway, I enjoyed it and will certainly have another go. The contests do add a dimension.
     
  11. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    1,558
    Okay, I can see that perspective too. If it works as-is for the majority of participants and is just meant as motivation for writing practice, then I guess that's fair enough.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  12. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    5,416
    Likes Received:
    6,841
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Well...@JC...'yes' and 'no.' I am not mad.


    So - as @Iain Aschendale infers - 'Norman' rather than Saxon? Please maintain only the strictest of business posting relationships henceforward. Thank you & Happy Christmas

    Robinne De Hude, Notts
     
  13. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    1,558
    :rofl:
     
  14. Hammer

    Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2018
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    832
    Location:
    UK
    ...on the paternal side. On the maternal - Yorkshire - side we go back to before the big bang when, family legend has it, the entirery of creation was condensed to a small lump of parkin.
     
    matwoolf likes this.
  15. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    334
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Encourage the self voting, make it mandatory. That evens things out. Is anyone going to set up dummy accounts just to win a contest here?
     
  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,372
    Likes Received:
    9,735
    Location:
    London, UK
    Self-voting will never be mandatory as long as I'm in charge (can't speak for the other contests). I wouldn't do it, so I can't demand that others do.
     
  17. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    5,416
    Likes Received:
    6,841
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Self-voting is an evil akin to marketing your own book.
     
    Tenderiser likes this.
  18. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,372
    Likes Received:
    9,735
    Location:
    London, UK
    Heaven forbid! Terribly vulgar.
     
    matwoolf likes this.
  19. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    5,416
    Likes Received:
    6,841
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Thank you. The glitch in system has omitted your ‘like.’ If I could leave it you to contact @Danielsystems. Most grateful, carry on.
     
    Tenderiser likes this.
  20. big soft moose

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

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    10,301
    Likes Received:
    11,354
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    there is a plug in that allows mods to see who voted for what (because apparently some xf sites use votes on who should be banned and who should or shouldn't be a moderator ... that strikes me as WTF moment), there are also plug ins to prevent self voting (that requires a completely different voting system so its not actually a poll at all) ... it isn't quite as simple as yay lets get them though because a) there's a cost and b) plug ins sometimes conflict with each other and site performance can suffer from having too many running at once

    really its a sad world when we can't just run contests based on trust though
     
    Shenanigator and Iain Aschendale like this.
  21. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    334
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Not telling the mods what to do. You're doing a great job. But... if everyone voted for their own story, poem, flash or whatever, Wouldn't that effectively nullify their votes so no harm done?
     
  22. Shenanigator

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

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    3,825
    Likes Received:
    5,823
    When I entered the contest, I felt the fairest way to have neither an advantage nor disadvantage was to not vote at all. ETA: It seemed the most “neutral” option.

    But, given the low number of votes per contest I can see how that might not be effective. I second @Iain Aschendale ’s suggestion of doing more to encourage voting from the membership at large.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
    Earp likes this.
  23. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    334
    Location:
    Undecided.
    An I would add a third... but I don't know how you would do it.
     
  24. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    5,416
    Likes Received:
    6,841
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Yes, no new contest until one entry alone reaches 50 votes.

    It’s been said by many - common avatars dripping bling medals/the thunderbolts like Chilean despots/Idi Amin devalues momentous literary contests of our collective memory - such as the summer ‘15 slam epic, as was stated recently, thank you.
     
  25. Shenanigator

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

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    3,825
    Likes Received:
    5,823
    More prominent placement on the home page of the site in a different color text box or with a different color letters...that sort of thing. Short stories aren’t my thing, either to read or to write, but I try to remember to read them when it’s time to vote in the contest, because I want to be supportive of my fellow writers here. But, since I don’t interact with short stories threads at any other time, it’s hard to remember to go in and check out the contest entries. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so a blatantly clear reminder on the front page at the appropriate time would help.
     
    dbesim and Iain Aschendale like this.

Share This Page