WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Correcting A Possible Injustice

WRiTE CLUB fans,

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.
With all that said, although there is no smoking gun, there is a strong suspicion that somebody has been orchestrating a specific outcome behind the scenes. I'm not saying Eleanor is behind this, because it could just as easily be a misguided fan, but with the number of people who have expressed concern in the comments section about her, there are those that feel disqualification is warranted. But as I've stated, there is no definitive proof.  Instead, I have different solution.

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.

DL

14 comments

  1. This sounds fair. Thanks for offering this solution.

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  2. So sorry you had any kind of controversy with your awesome Write Club.
    I think your idea to fix the situation is very fair.
    I'll be here.

    Heather

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  3. A fair and gracious solution. I'm so sorry you had to deal with this. Thank you for your working in hosting this incredibly fun contest. Looking forward to voting for the best writer on Monday!

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  4. This is the first time I'll be not commenting as anonymous which is fine. I've voted on all the contest (I may have missed one or two). It adds more accountability to the contest. Thank you for all your hard work for the writers. This contest is amazing and I've learned a lot! Hopefully everyone will realize that the biggest "prize" you can win out of this is all the amazing feedback--not only on your own entry but on everyone else's.

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  5. I love your solution Don, and I hope it all works out! Good luck to the writers!

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  6. Sorry this happened. Good luck to all the writers. And thank you dl

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  7. I've been too swamped to stop by as often as I can, but I will this next week. You've handled the situation very fairly. And yes, it was inevitable that unfair voting would occur at some point.

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  8. Wow! This is great! My thanks to DL Hammond for looking into things that appeared, um, amiss.

    My faith in this contest is restored, and I'm glad I spoke up in my previously anonymous posting. This is a writing contest, not a popularity contest.

    It's true that no one knows for sure if Eleanor was behind the voting shenanigans. My hope is that no one votes against her based on suspicion that she was, but that she wins or loses based on the quality of her writing. Though all the names will be changed, those of us who look at the writing as a whole will be able to spot who is who based on style/mechanics.

    Any day where justice prevails is a very good day!

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  9. Sorry to hear about this Don.
    I think this is a fair solution.

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  10. Wow, that bites. Good job being on top of it though.

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  11. That's a fair solution, DL. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that kind of mess.

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  12. I generally read these bouts behind the scene, seldom leaving comments. That's mostly because writing, as with any art, is so subjective.

    I applaud you for this post. I think removing anonymous comments is a good call. People should own their opinions and comments, not hide behind the anonymous avatar.

    Further, I think it's smart not having the names of the authors with their piece, that in itself helps sway a vote. All voting should be for work not attached to a name. So, kudos on that count too.

    It's sad when it comes to this, isn't it? But, you've step up to the plate and found a reasonable solution to an uncomfortable situation.

    I hope everything works out.

    Cheers, Jenny at Pearson Report
    Write Brain Challenge

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  13. Hi Don - what a sensible solution .. to what perhaps is a dubious set of circumstances. Well done for handling it so well .. Hilary

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  14. Well said, and a fair solution.

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