We’ve received a lot of questions about the voting process for the flash fiction contest. Most people seem to enjoy the game, but a few adamantly complain about our process of allowing one vote per email address per day.
I definitely understand where they’re coming from and it’s certainly something that we’ve taken into consideration. There are a few things to remember:
1) It’s a game. We are not benefactors of the great art of flash fiction writing, we created a game that’s supposed to be fun, and is fun for most participants.
2) We need some way to reduce the number of submissions for our judges. Any system will inherently favor someone. Sorry.
3) Votes do not determine winners, votes only determine finalists. Winners are still determined based on writing quality. Certainly, not all finalists are the best written stories, but not all finalists are solely the result of a skewed voting process either.
4) No web traffic = no prizes. The web traffic sells ads and books. We use that money to pay for prizes. Nobody’s skimming off the top or getting paid to run this contest, it basically all goes back to the contestants.
We need a way to reduce the total number of submissions to a manageable number of finalists – voting is an effective, fun way to do this. However, any type of general voting is a popularity contest. I believe that allowing multiple votes LEVELS the playing field.
Someone who does not have as deep of a friend base still has a chance to win if they play hard and apply a lot of energy.
Consider Mr. Smith and Mr. White. Mr. Smith has 800 Facebook friends, most of whom he’s never met, and 500 followers on Twitter, none of whom he’s ever met. Mr. White, however, only has 30 Facebook friends, but he’s connected to all of them and routinely rejects friends he doesn’t really know, and he doesn’t care much for Twitter.
If we only allow one vote per email: Mr. Smith will put out the call on Facebook and Twitter, and get a 10% response from his acquaintenances, netting him 130 votes. 100% of Mr. White’s friends, however, who dearly love him, all enthusiastically vote for him, netting him only 30 votes. Mr. Smith wins!
If we allow daily votes per email: Mr. Smith will put out the call on Facebook and Twitter and still get a 10% response on one day for a total of 130 votes. Mr. White, who is dearly loved by all 30 of his friends, gets 30 votes for 14 days and wins with 420 votes! Congrats Mr. White!
Which system is “fair?” Neither one really. I, for one, prefer a system that rewards hard work.
Does our system promote more web traffic? Absolutely! I haven’t yet found a benevolent organization who wants to sponsor our contests and pay our judges to fairly sift through all of the submissions. Until we find that, if we want to give away prizes, web traffic helps sell books and advertisements, so that we can purchase said prizes and give them away.
CCC has no paid staff, and no shareholders. The money that comes in goes directly back out to the contributing authors, and in the form of fun writing-related contests.
The book publishing industry is half promotional work and half writing talent. Our contest is the same way. The first half is all promotion and work, for better or worse, the second half (the CCC judge determined finals) is all writing skill.
I hope you enjoy our flash fiction game. It’s fun and most people have a good time. Don’t let those bellyachers get you down. Haters gonna’ hate.
All that being said, we’re always open to constructive criticism. Please contact us with suggestions to make the next contest even better.