June 17, 2019, 08:02:44 PM

Poll

Should the stories for the October Writing Contest be submitted anonymously?

Yes, let's try this out! (Submit the stories when you get them.)
10 (47.6%)
Yes, let's try this out! (All stories should be submitted on the last day of the contest.)
3 (14.3%)
No, the contest is good as it is and the option to anonymously submit exists for those who want to.
8 (38.1%)
I don't care.
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 21

Voting closed: September 29, 2016, 05:47:37 PM

Author Topic: Anonymous Submission  (Read 16436 times)

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #60 on: November 16, 2016, 11:58:33 PM »
Overlord doesn't get any money from this site.it relys on donations from members or by buying the fantasy faction anthology.

He started this site after reading a fantasy novel and realised noone he know in real life was into fantasy so made this site so he could talk to others online who are as passionate as he is about fantasy
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 12:24:50 AM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Nora

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #61 on: November 17, 2016, 12:00:12 AM »
Aye. I only voted for 3 stories this month because of the amount of 'Mmmmh...' in the others. I voted for clear favourites. Best option.

I'm more influenced by what the style of the story is, if it was comedic and shared my humour I would always vote for that before a poem or horror.



What.... what abut... comedic horror? I could try... Then after a few month I might convert you to less and less comedy and more horror...  :P
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Offline Lordoftheword

Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #62 on: November 17, 2016, 12:04:56 AM »
@Lordoftheword not sure what you mean or understood, when you say "some of us have 5 votes"?

We all have the same amount of votes to cast. It depends on the amount of stories entered each month.
A winning story can have anything to 8-9 votes to 13, in the August month for example. It's the amount of people who cast one of their votes for them.


Also, no I was never nervous showing my work to anyone... Mostly because none of my family or old friend speak enough English to go beyond asking for directions. :D
But again, your entire problem is already solvable, since we always have to option of anonymous submission, as is clearly stated in the rules now each month.

Ah I may have misunderstood! I thought I had read on another thread that if you've posted more monthly stories, you receive more votes (ie: If I participated every month I would receive more votes).

Thanks for clarifying @Lady_Ty - for last month's Corpse contest, I cast my vote for one right off the bat then voted...just saw the cancel vote button and now I see the "you may vote for up to 5 entries" option. Thanks again :)

Also @Nora - it's solvable to a point. The anonymous submission option is a good one, but seems a little less likely to get the attention of other people in the forum because it is anonymous. It's like when I used to read Reader's Digest as a kid (yes I did that..lol). A story had less pomp when compared next to the authored titles. The same goes for quotes, or poems, or anything else written for that matter.

I go back to the point about an even playing field for all authors, and that was seriously motivating for me last month. That's just from personal experience, and I do completely respect and understand a lot of the good points you're making as well. But the fun factor of this contest and the final reveal for me is just too climactic to ignore. I may feel differently in a few months or a year from now, but we could always revisit that too :)
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #63 on: November 17, 2016, 12:06:32 AM »
Write something like John Carver a serial killer who stops his urges by killing demons masquerading as humans instead while trying to act normal. That's my sort of horror lol

I quite like Dexter the tv series as well  (not the books through)
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 12:12:35 AM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Nora

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #64 on: November 17, 2016, 12:11:45 AM »
Write something like John Carver a serial killer who stops his urges by killing demons masquerading as humans instead while trying to act normal. That's my sort of horror lol

Right...  :o
I think it'll be a hard win, but if I can convert you to the Darkity Dark side, you'll be a major steal...

@Lordoftheword I think Lady_Ty sealed in concrete all I had to say about equality in this forum. Anonymous is always an option for the shyest. Thinking people vote for mates is demeaning to everyone, and browsing through vote results of months past shows little favouritism.
Of course some people are less shy than you, or better writers than you. But many have been writing for years, and the contest is here for us to improve.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #65 on: November 17, 2016, 12:47:19 AM »
I regard all the writers as newbies to me ;-) apart from xia his ancient
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline JMack

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #66 on: November 17, 2016, 02:34:00 AM »
I have a suggestion:

All stories are posted as Anonymous.
BUT
The writing contest club mod posts a spoilered list of authors with story titles.
On our honor we don't look in the spoiler until after we've voted.

This solves mostly everything.
> knowing the Author's name has no effect on voting
> those who want to know the name earlier can do so. I like to PM people to say "yay!" if I feel that way.
> those who don't want to know until a big reveal can do that, too

Here's what it doesn't solve.
Anonymous is more work for Xiagan and ScarletBea.
Especially if we ask them to help us edit our stories after we post them.
In a normal month, I do a ton of fixing over several days after posting.

So I think my idea is pretty slick except for needing to hire Xiagan full time.  ;D
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Offline Lanko

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #67 on: November 17, 2016, 02:38:18 AM »
Some thoughts about this:

1) More entries than normal: Did Anonymous submission really caused new entries? We have only three first timers. Another (supposed) author (Almighty Zael) is an old member who was inactive and returned. Three others (Captain of the Guard, Osahon and Bradley) made their debut on Pirates and Gem_Cutter on Potions, none of which were compulsory anonymous submissions nor they debuted as Anonymous and there were other debuts who actually didn't enter Corpses.

I credit new blood income more with @Mr.J on Twitter (and others retweeting) than Anonymous submission. We really didn't have much propaganda before, did we? I think it would be interesting to know data of debuts before and after Twitter. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the impression I have.

The Contest Twitter started on June and the number of entries on our current year:

January (4th wall) - 18 entries
February (Fanfic) - 13 entries
March (Nightmares) - 14 entries
April (Dystopia) - 13 entries
May (Fairy Tale) - 11 entries
June (Wikipedia Article) - 12 entries
July (Story Generator) - 13 entries
August (Potions) - 18 entries
September (Pirates) - 17 entries
October (Corpses) - 22 entries

2) We are not discussing stories or writing: As you can see from my detective posts, me and others are clearly enjoying the guessing game.
But that didn't stop me from noticing a very big difference from previous months: we are discussing guesses and possible author names. No one is talking anything about any story or about the writing. Ironically, only Nora actually did - and to point out stories that were not hers.

Contrast that to other months, or even the 1750 Contest. Nora posted a story and right away Gem_Cutter came and commented on it, and now Lordoftheword too.

Now on Corpses we got to the point we can't even say how we liked a certain story or anything about any story "to not influence anyone on anything". I mean, seriously? So it's not only bias some people think it's going around, but that we are also that susceptible to vote or not on stories because of praise or comments of others in the Discussion or Voting thread?
I'm having fun playing Sherlock, but for me there is also a lot of fussiness and other un-fun stuff going on as well.

^This. Once again, I can speak from my experience as a new guy to these forums. I felt "safe" and "comfortable" posting my story here anonymously, because I knew that if I didn't perform or I churned out pure garbage, there wouldn't be eye rolls or otherwise pointed in my direction. Now that I've witnessed the people of integrity on these forums it seems funny that I thought that, but think about when you showed someone (best friend, girlfriend/boyfriend...mom) your first piece of writing. Were you afraid? Were you nervous? Hell yes, you were.

Anyway, it's pretty obvious where I stand. But I'll compete and comment and love this contest no matter what, so however we come to a consensus I'm 100% in. :)

That's quite a curious post, Lord!

You introduced yourself pretty clearly, you are Dustin Bilyk and you have a book called Tournament of Hearts: The Librarian Gladiator. You even have a picture on Amazon! You certainly didn't look like a shy type!

I mean, it's kinda of funny you want anonymity for your virtual nickname you just created to stand in front of your real one! It's like a triple secret identity!
I can understand being a bit cautious before exploring the ambient, but now I'm also curious how you deal with a bad review and stuff like that  ::)

3)Regarding bias:

I'm not gonna post too much regarding this today, but will tomorrow. Probably. I also need to sleep. Anyway...

I think people are using the word "bias" here too widely and even incorrectly. Bias (in this case) is an unfair judgment from the get go, that you simply refuse to believe a new entry can have the same quality as an entry of an old member.

I'm just gonna say there are a lot of people who have been around here for years and only recently got their first win, don't win for a long time or still have to win for the first time.
And a lot of veteran members who alternate doing well in one contest and not too great in the next one.

For me this is proof enough.

"If I have to chose between two stories, and one is from a known member and the other is not, I will most likely consider the person. That's bias!"

No, it's not. First you are assuming everyone has the same line of thinking, same preferences and will all arrive at the same conclusion, which is false.

The fact you are having difficulty in choosing between a veteran and a newbie already proves you gave equal consideration to both and that you are not biased.

If an older member gave for you a slight tip in the balance for the final choice, it still not bias. A story is entertainment for someone and members and their interactions are also part of that entertainment.
On prized contests, you don't know who or how many entered and don't interact with anyone involved. There's also a Committee who doesn't know anyone either and choose the winners. That's not the case here.
And if it were a publisher, if there's one book spot and they have two similar books and one is from John Doe and the other from Joe Abercrombie, guess who is more likely to bite the dust?

Again: Check voting threads and the fact veteran members who only recently got a first win, don't win for a long time or never won at all. This is fact, not hypothesis.

Also, personal preference is a lot different than bias and plays a tremendous influence on anyone's choices. Before we even get to authors, there are styles, tropes, sub-genres and elements used on the stories.
Some people always love comedic stories and always vote for it, while they never have any appeal for others. Some people clearly don't like dark and violent stories, while for others it's their primary preference. Is it bias against certain styles and elements used in a story? No, it's personal preference, and that's the difference.

Maybe people who want their names published should contact Xiagan and Anonymous entries should be default, simply because it's easier for a newbie who just joined and is not familiar with the forum tools and mods. It's also easier for Xiagan to put their names if they ask "hey, I want my name, why my story is Anonymous?" than they trying to figure out they need to contact a mod and there are Anonymous subs.

Anyway, for me people are trying to fix what is not broken, placing mountains where there were none before.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 02:40:41 AM by Lanko »
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Offline Lordoftheword

Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #68 on: November 17, 2016, 05:53:34 AM »

^This. Once again, I can speak from my experience as a new guy to these forums. I felt "safe" and "comfortable" posting my story here anonymously, because I knew that if I didn't perform or I churned out pure garbage, there wouldn't be eye rolls or otherwise pointed in my direction. Now that I've witnessed the people of integrity on these forums it seems funny that I thought that, but think about when you showed someone (best friend, girlfriend/boyfriend...mom) your first piece of writing. Were you afraid? Were you nervous? Hell yes, you were.

Anyway, it's pretty obvious where I stand. But I'll compete and comment and love this contest no matter what, so however we come to a consensus I'm 100% in. :)

That's quite a curious post, Lord!

You introduced yourself pretty clearly, you are Dustin Bilyk and you have a book called Tournament of Hearts: The Librarian Gladiator. You even have a picture on Amazon! You certainly didn't look like a shy type!

I mean, it's kinda of funny you want anonymity for your virtual nickname you just created to stand in front of your real one! It's like a triple secret identity!
I can understand being a bit cautious before exploring the ambient, but now I'm also curious how you deal with a bad review and stuff like that  ::)

To your question (was it a question?...) I was definitely a little shy about posting my work here under my name before I got to know folks. The first thing I did when I came to these forums was write a story and enter the contest anonymously. I only introduced myself when I felt comfortable after browsing the forums for a week or so and seeing the kind of people that frequent these boards. It's a different environment for sure. Here I feel I am among peers and other writers, whereas elsewhere (ie: Amazon/Goodreads) they're my readers, and will likely not be potential peers. So yes, I took a bit of caution when exploring the ambient.

To your other "question", I've taken a ton of criticism and bad reviews since I released my book and I've handled it just fine. It comes with the territory, and of course it sucks but that's just part of it. If I opened up a restaurant, some people are going to think the food is terrible and rate the place one star on Yelp. Ditto for anything else where you slap your name on it and share it with the world. If you can't handle that you shouldn't publish in my opinion.

Anyway, not sure if you were taking a dig at me, but I'll just say thanks for the book plug and feel free to call me Dustin if you think I'm loading on too many secret identities  ;)
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #69 on: November 17, 2016, 06:21:39 AM »
@Lanko Xiagan suggested/requested we not do the praise and critique until after the contest, and no one (that I recall) raised any objections, but I agree, it would have been more fun to do that before we know whose is whose.

If Lord says he felt more comfortable anonymous, for my part, I'll take his word for it. Being able to take criticism doesn't mean life's not better without it :) Did anyone say they submitted because they heard about the contest on Twitter?

And sorry Lanko, everything you wrote about IS bias. It doesn't matter if you started off with it in your head (prejudice), it came down to a tie and you wanted to throw a buddy a bone (favoritism), or because you know a writer is always writing about cool stuff you never pick up on, so you figure some of that stuff is probably in there, so you vote for their story (bias). You can call all this personal preference - it's personal, and it's based on your preferences - but it's not fair if you have a reputation for mediocre stories, or are competing with someone who has a reputation for excellence. Things as minor as uniform color have a measurable bias in the Olympics, so it's not like anyone's a cackling, fun-spoiling favorite-monger, but anonymous is more objective. Because science.

It's not a sin, or a human rights violation, but your example proves it - the publishers pick Abercrombie because they are biased towards profit, and would rather have an author with a readership, because they know readers are biased, too, and would prefer a book with a known name on it over the exact same book without one.
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Offline Saraband

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #70 on: November 17, 2016, 09:02:00 AM »
But bias can happen in very different ways. It seems that people just assume that if bias did exist, it would mean that we would see more popular folks winning more often... What about negative bias? Surely the opposite can happen, where someone would be undecided between two votes, and decide to give it to a less popular person / a newbie because they might think that everyone will vote for the popular one. This type of bias could serve as an explanation for the same examples that were just used to justify its non-existence.

I don't think I'm enjoying how this discussion is developing, as we're already seeing people on the defensive as if they have to justify their argument with personal reasons.

To me, the most positive outcome in having permanent anonymous submissions would to be to create a less daunting atmosphere for new entries. I understand that you are already free to post anonymously, but it's different to have one or two anonymous submissions each month, compared to having everyone post anonymously. You may feel like people may be suspicious towards your anonymity, even if there is no basis for that. We had more stories this month than in any other contest in the last twelve months, and sure, it may be due to the theme, or a more active Twitter account, or simply the need for escapism from the US election. We don't have a sample big enough to draw any conclusions. But I forced myself to take part this month because of the anonymity side, and I probably wouldn't have written anything if not for the motivation that it gave me to think of this as a fairer contest than ever before.

I for one have admitted before and will do so again, that even if inadvertently, I may find myself choosing one story over another for reasons other than the writing, and anonymity seems to solve that. While I truly try to identify bias when I feel it, it may affect me without me ever noticing it.
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #71 on: November 17, 2016, 10:02:01 AM »
whew.  epic post from east-side london!

I will say that I'm pretty flattered by the people who mistakenly attributed better writers than I to the story I actually wrote.

isn't that the best?!?  i saw my name next to my favorite corpse story (spoiler alert!) and i squealed and about peed myself.


I wonder, @m3mnoch if it might be possible to color code the guesses so that they're linked to the guesser?  Or put it in a table?  Seeing who guessed what is almost as exciting as knowing who actually wrote the thing...

i could totally do that, but i'm not going to.  i want to keep the guessing anonymous, too.  that way, detectives like lanko can't deduce who wrote what by who attributed what to whom.

that being said, i've looked at a few as a qa step to make sure things were working correctly.  my favorite set of guesses?  the ones by "I'm so tempted to type m3mnoch here".

oh, yeah.  don't think i don't see you.

/squintyeye


I have mad love for @m3mnoch and his ebook with-no-authors. Does everyone use that? Probably not, but they should. Because it's awesome.

Bias can come from anywhere and does seep into things you wouldn't expect, even subconsciously. I use the ebook because it helps to maintain that equal footing that I mentioned earlier.

thanks!  that's the version i use too.

i'm not sure if it helps, tho.  after i read a good story, i'll go back and peek at who wrote it.  tho, it does a good job of preventing my bias going into the story and deciding if it's good or not.

it's the relative comparisons when it comes to voting where it's no help at all.  personally, if i like two stories equally, i'll find myself thinking about voting for the author who has had less success, then catch myself and just drop the vote altogether.

because, don't forget, reverse bias is a thing, too.  in a close contest for that last vote, "this author won last month, so i'm going to give someone else a chance" plays a huge part.

that means in my internal fight against bias, often, i don't use all the votes in any given month.


Don't make the mistake of taking one month as data enough to draw outlines. 1750 as a topic is being pretty unpopular right now, like some other topics some people found more restraining and contributed less.

obligatory xkcd image.




Also, most of Gem's points for anonymity can be solved by applying as anonymous any given month.

sure -- for non-regulars or newbies.

if i posted anonymous, everyone would assume one of them was me because i'm currently working on my 18th consecutive entry.  the only way non-compulsory anonymous works for me is if a bunch of us can self-organize together as a group and post anonymously together.


I mostly meant by my wild comment that I thought "influence" of the names had been discussed, and this month's anonymous sub was offered as a non permanent game, because most people had agreed we're only mildly influenced by names.

i think we're all talking about the same thing -- a mild influence.  i don't think anyone actually votes by the names alone.

as an example, for myself, i'm cranky lately in my bias-fight with tebakutis's stories.

if i know the names first, i'll go into his story like, "okay, this month, i'm totally not going to vote for him."  then, i read the story and i'm like, "dammit!  i love this.  totally voting for it."  i try not to vote for him, but in the end, i often can't NOT vote for it.

it's just as bad if i'm using the ebook and don't know the author first.  i'll get to the end and think, "that was really good.  who wrote it?"  when i see tebakutis's name, i go all captain kirk on the situation, shaking my fist at the sky and screaming, "eric!!!"

so, in my relationship with tebakutis's stories, my name bias, while i like to believe it doesn't affect the end results of my voting, it absolutely ends up acutely coloring my judgment.  it comes down to either "aha!  i found a reason not to vote for him!" or "damn!  i love this!"  there's no real middle ground.  there's no real negotiating a close contest for my last vote.  it's either the best or the worst.

back when rukaio was submitting more often, i had basically the same experience, just obviously a different author.


It's also time this suggestion of bias was put to bed, personally think it demeans everyone here.

it's certainly not a conscious bias -- i'm sure none of the voters are consciously picking someone.  it's those tricky unconscious biases that we're talking about.  the ones you don't notice, and therefore think you don't do.


But bias can happen in very different ways.

my favorite example of an unconscious bias?  it's when i explain white privilege to someone who thinks they're above it.  "when you walk down the rx aisle at the grocery store, what color are the band-aids?"


It seems that people just assume that if bias did exist, it would mean that we would see more popular folks winning more often... What about negative bias? Surely the opposite can happen, where someone would be undecided between two votes, and decide to give it to a less popular person / a newbie because they might think that everyone will vote for the popular one. This type of bias could serve as an explanation for the same examples that were just used to justify its non-existence.

ding!

that's my internal bias i fight with the most.


and, finally . . .

my personal opinion on the anonymous posting:  a few times a year, it would be fun.  especially for the more "open" themes.

tho, i think we all agree it's definitely not an option as an every-month kind of thing.  i don't think anyone wants that.

Offline Nora

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #72 on: November 17, 2016, 10:02:25 AM »
I follow Jmack on the problem of editing. I edit a lot and felt frustrated by not being able to immediately correct typos or actually change my presentation.
Forced anonimity doesn't solve the issue for people who want to expand their story either. Like I said before, I'm sitting on 4K of writing and like anonymity a lot less for not being able to ask for help with it, than I would otherwise.
What would happen if I said "screw it" and revealed what I wrote 2 weeks before the end of the voting?
How many people do you pro-bias think will change their votes to include my story?

I also don't get why we want so many more newbies. I often read people saying how daunting reading 20 x 1500 words is. Will we be enjoying this as well when we have a casual 30 participants?
I'm not saying we should keep new blood from entering, just that I don't see why we should "put mountains where there were none" on a contest that has a lot of participation and easy to read rules. They clearly explain the possibility of anonymous submission. If all of you people who are fan of that used it, you might be the majority of people.

Then we'd all be happy!

I seriously don't believe in bias. At least not in a way serious enough to change who the winners will be. People can't win with 13 votes after a month with 0 without earning it by skill.
What if we keep seeing Rukaio and Jmack and Tebakutis winning? How many months of the old emperors winning before we think of twisting the contest even more?

I think that life isn't fair, and our contest is about as fair as can be, given that we vote for it ourselves.
If we want absolute fairness, we should write the story, edit it, and then go submit it to Clarkesworld instead of here. Then you don't vote, don't see the others, don't talk to anyone and if you win, you're in Clarkesworld...
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Offline xiagan

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #73 on: November 17, 2016, 10:23:16 AM »
I'm pretty sure nearly everything is said - just not by everybody. ;)

I'm at work so I can't match your long posts.

We won't find a solution to make everybody happy - we aren't in fairyland.
I agree with nearly all points made for both sides, which makes me pretty undecided on that topic.

What do you think about having every third/fourth month anonymous?
After a year we can look back and maybe see a bit better what worked and why and what didn't and why not.

Will maybe write some more thoughts later. Depends on if Linus lets me or not. ;)
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline JMack

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #74 on: November 17, 2016, 10:40:27 AM »
I think I'll just repeat my last post.  8)

 It, yes, I'm with Xiagan.
Full-on enrobed secrecy once a quarter.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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