Maybe it was unrealistic to believe that a simple contest that tries so hard to focus on writing -- not the writer -- could remain free from controversy and unfair manipulation, and I guess that mistake is on me. Or maybe picking up a sponsor and adding an awesome prize was the wrong way to go, because it may have inadvertently caused some people to blur their better judgment in pursuit of that prize. Whatever the reason, things have been happening during this seasons WRiTE CLUB that I cannot ignore and must do something to correct.
Irregularities have been brought to my attention in bouts involving Eleanor McInnes. On each of that writers bouts, the voting count nearly doubled. All of these extra votes were by people who didn't vote on any other bouts (where Eleanor was not competing). We went through and tallied them all, and there were usually over twice as many anonymous votes on Eleanors bouts as the other bouts. Plus there are people commenting on her posts that gave their names, so they weren't anonymous, but they only commented with their names (like "Emily" or "Brian") and no links to who they were. These people only commented on her bouts, and there were usually at least 10 people commenting on each of her posts that didn't comment on any others.
Also, many of these votes came at the last minute before voting closed, within a few minutes of each other. They often left no feedback for the other competing writer, and only posted praise for Eleanor. To have that many votes posted within minutes really made us question things.
On Monday I will be posting a four-way bout between Elanor McInnes and her previous opponents -- Dean Aye, Blackdamp, and MissWriteNow. All four pieces will be labeled using different pen names assigned by me (just for this bout). The top two vote getters will move into the quarter-final round. Voting for that very special bout will close on Wednesday, July 8th at 6PM. Here's the real kicker...I am removing the anonymous voting option from here on out. If you want to vote, register with Blogger, Google+ or Wordpress, but please vote for the WRITING and not the WRITER!
And on another related note, we always welcome and encourage mini-critiques when placing your votes here on WRiTE CLUB, but it should always be done in a positive way. Mean-spirited remarks that are clearly intended to tear down a writers work instead of offering constructive criticism have no place here and in the future they will be deleted (along with the vote). This is a friendly competition and I will do what's necessary to keep it that way.
I'm sorry it has come to this, but I guess growing pains are inevitable with anything successful.