April 24, 2017, 04:32:21 AM

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 3852 times)

Offline Captain of the Guard

Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #75 on: November 17, 2016, 12:02:45 PM »
I think I'll just repeat my last post.  8)

 It, yes, I'm with Xiagan.
Full-on enrobed secrecy once a quarter.

I second the motion !  :)
The man walked with a limp, it defined him and his appearance, the rest of him was unremarkable .
  -The Realm  by George Dover

Offline Lordoftheword

Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #76 on: November 17, 2016, 01:50:24 PM »
I think I'll just repeat my last post.  8)

 It, yes, I'm with Xiagan.
Full-on enrobed secrecy once a quarter.

I second the motion !  :)

Third it! I think that's a fantastic compromise :)
Author of Tournament of Hearts: The Librarian Gladiator.
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #77 on: November 17, 2016, 03:16:17 PM »
I think I'll just repeat my last post.  8)

 It, yes, I'm with Xiagan.
Full-on enrobed secrecy once a quarter.

While I don't feel strongly about it, I have really enjoyed the speculation induced by "Anonymous Month", but also agree with points made that it's a lot of work to do every month. From reading the comments, it seems like a decent number of people don't want to do the Anonymous thing globally. So I endorse the once a year idea.

That way, "Anonymous Month" will be a fun one-off to look forward to each year, but we won't be adding a lot of work, and since is isn't mandatory the other 11 months, we will be mostly keeping folks happy.

As far as solving issues like Lord mentioned (where he wanted to be Anonymous for his first submission) we still have voluntary Anonymous (you can submit any story Anonymously through Xiagan, you just don't have to) to handle that in any other month.

So I like the idea of one month a year being Anonymous Month. Also, because it's proven so fun, I say we embrace the "guess who wrote what" angle, and maybe actually have another "winner" during Anonymous Month - the person with most correct author guesses (that is, if @m3mnoch is okay with doing his awesome web magic once a year for the vote tallies so we can track that).
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Online The Gem Cutter

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #78 on: November 17, 2016, 03:26:55 PM »
No one should feel demeaned by confronting the fact that people, ALL PEOPLE, experience bias - it's a thing, like right-or-left handedness, liking jazz, or having an allergy. It's not a character flaw. Three or four people have described how their decisions are influenced by the names of people, and no one appears the worse for wear, even if they're not riding white chargers across the moral high ground.

Methinks those against dost protest too much. The more passionately people argue against anonymous, the more they prove it's necessary. People complain when they feel they are losing something. So if there's nothing to be gained from using one's name - what's lost? It clearly isn't nothing, so what is it? C'mon ... you know what it is... you can say it. I mean, don't type it, that's crazy. But you can say it.

Blind-judging is obviously more objective - it's a real thing used by real people when they really want to be objective and fair. So what's wrong with that? There's the real heart of the issue, which no one has effectively explained - the delay in recognition? Really?

I liked "contest" better than "club" - a club has members, and a contest has winners. Contests are supposed to be fair and objective. Clubs are literally the opposite. Clubs are synonymous with a clique. The only difference is clubs have better facilities, and a clique is less permanent.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #79 on: November 17, 2016, 03:51:29 PM »
Quote
The more passionately people argue against anonymous, the more they prove it's necessary

Okay... Following this logic, the more people argue against slavery, the more you prove it's necessary. [apply to any negative thing ever].

People voice their opinion strongly on things they feel strongly about. I've been in this contest for 2 years. I never sensed an issue. I think steps have been taken for those who did and a yearly Anonymous event while Anon sub remains a permanent option sounds lovely.

Quote
So if there's nothing to be gained from using one's name - what's lost? It clearly isn't nothing, so what is it? C'mon ... you know what it is... you can say it.

I feel like we've been going about what is lost in every single post we wrote. You can re-read the last two pages.

I personally can add that I feel baffled by people's want for anonymity if their goal is to make a career as a writer. Don't you want your name out there? Isn't associating your work to your pen integral part of being a published author? Why is pride such an issue? Lack of confidence is something to fight, not to foster.
Anonymous subs are always an option for the shyest, we've said so.
Those who don't care about such worldly things and only contribute here as a hobby have little reason to get nervous about associating work with (their already quite anonymous) nickname.

Why do you want to take away something from people who never saw a problem with it?
This entire identity crisis dumbfounds me.

I protest a lot because if the contests were to become permanently anonymous, I'd write my piece for everyone of them and go submit it to a professional publication first, and submit it here on last day if I couldn't get it published by professionals. Because what would be the point then of having a community when we spend two months not knowing who wrote what?
If you want to turn this into something akin to the literrary mags, I will go and submit to them, because then I'd be in a magazine and have money for my writing.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #80 on: November 17, 2016, 05:03:37 PM »
Anonymous doesn't / shouldn't impact the decision of where and when a writer submits, as all that applies either way.

I will concede - there's more passion for status quo and butthurt feelings about the melodrama of having to wait for praise. So I'll agree to disagree and move on. But know that the more you go on, the more I see a handful of regulars arguing against preventing bias and favoritism, which is not exactly the same, but is a close cousin of arguing for it.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Online Lanko

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #81 on: November 17, 2016, 05:29:02 PM »
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).

No, it's not.

People may like or not like certain aspects or elements in their stories, be it darkness, extreme violence, profanity, romance or comedy. That's their preference.
If I use those elements in my story, and later people tell me they didn't vote for it because it wasn't for them, I'm not calling anyone biased because of it. You simply can't appeal to everyone.

Others may say that Fantasy isn't as appealing to them as Horror, or Romance, or Science Fiction. That's preference.

I remember when Terry Pratchett died, and one "critic" at The Guardian completely bashed his work and his fans, because for that critic Fantasy was for children, magic and make-believe worlds absurd and Fantasy would never have the same depth and writing as "true Literature" would. The funny thing? He had never read anything of Pratchett's. Now that's bias. And as fellow Fantasy fans, I'm sure you can easily find similar people around.

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

Since you said that, now I'm gonna call you on it and ask you what are those mediocre stories and if they received large amount of votes because of the author's name.
And what science you used to determine its supposed mediocrity and voting 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  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.

How is that so?

Some people are here for years, with 10+ or 20+ submissions. Some people are published authors. Others may be writing their very first piece. Of course it's more likely to be differences in skill and execution.

What would be fair to you? Put entries of published authors in one group, unpublished past winners and veterans in another and newbies in yet another?

Oh wait, there are some months where newbies have way more votes than those veterans or published authors. Another refute of the whole bias thing.

When I entered I was another newbie going against way more experienced people, and most likely they too passed through the same thing. I had to learn and adapt to the format, do things differently, have structure, make every word count. It isn't a quick process, it doesn't happen from one month to the next. And it's invaluable to pass such skills to long form, which is my long term plan and objective.

And if I simply think that my stories were not receiving votes from 10 or 20 other people because they were going automatically for older members simply because of name, then the biased one would be me, not the other 10 or 20 people around.

I like having to make every word count and work my ass off to be able to compete against the more experienced and more advanced members. It's how you improve.

Also, there's nothing objective or scientific about book and story reading. If anything, it's one of the most subjective things out there. You can absolutely love what other person hated and vice-versa for absolutely different reasons.
Just like people can vote (or not) for the same story for different reasons and preferences.

Also, this "judging by the writing" is not free of its own biases and personal pet peeves as well. I'm sure we have plenty of them from writers books, blogs, publishers, agents, editor and even other writers.

"Don't start describing the weather", "Don't use too many POVs", "You are telling too much", "Don't use adverbs", "Don't use second person", "This is too flowery!", "Don't do this and that".
Authors break those rules all the time and can be extremely successful in doing so as well.

So "judging only by writing" isn't this "absolute neutral free of bias" people are making it out to be. You have your own preferences about various aspects of the craft as well.
Those things I mentioned could make you cringe and make a story lose a lot of points with you, but someone else may simply not care. Why is that not considered bias by you as well?

Also, if someone is really that biased towards or against someone, anonymity does really nothing for the problem. They will continue to vote (or refuse to vote) for that specific author, the only difference is that it's now happening by chance and may affect different people (if they can't simply identify easily whoever is their "target").

Personal preference (theme, style, voice, etc) will have far more impact on your voting.

I will say to any newcomer that you have nothing to worry, being pretty much a newcomer myself, with 9 or 10 entries. There are people here with 20+ over years of submissions.

There was never a winner that I didn't vote for or that I felt it didn't deserve even if I didn't vote for it myself. There are plenty of first time winners this year, which disproves positive bias towards others, and veterans winning for a second or third time, which also disproves negative bias.
There are veterans who haven't won for a very long time, who had their first victory recently and very old members who write very well and still have yet to win.

This contest is on it's SIXTH YEAR. That's right, that's more than HALF A DECADE. It will complete 72 different contests by December.
And with 72 contests over more than half a decade, do you know how many victories the top author has? Five. Yes, five.

So rest assured and go write and then submit! Then analyze, ask, practice, and write again and submit again!
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 05:30:47 PM by Lanko »
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Offline Nora

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #82 on: November 17, 2016, 06:49:03 PM »
This contest is on it's SIXTH YEAR. That's right, that's more than HALF A DECADE. It will complete 72 different contests by December.
And with 72 contests over more than half a decade, do you know how many victories the top author has? Five. Yes, five.

So rest assured and go write and then submit! Then analyze, ask, practice, and write again and submit again!

Amen.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #83 on: November 17, 2016, 08:14:53 PM »
Wow! You win. You've convinced me there's no bias here relating to authors.
The Gem Cutter
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Offline Nora

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #84 on: November 17, 2016, 08:24:22 PM »
Again, pretty sure Lanko is not saying there is no Bias. Like most others who have sided that way, he's saying there is not enough to matter, or that it's inescapable. He's arguing that bias should not be taken into account when discussing the merits of Anon submissions, because it's too marginal, and like Lady_Ty said, an insult to us all to consider we're so incapable of knowing and acting better.
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Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #85 on: November 17, 2016, 08:24:49 PM »
There is no need to be sarcastic just agree to disagree and move on.
I'm Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person.

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Offline Saraband

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #86 on: November 17, 2016, 09:09:28 PM »
There is no need to be sarcastic just agree to disagree and move on.

Hear, hear. We can sit here all day screaming why we are right and everyone else is wrong, or simply accept that there is no wrong or right here, it's simply a matter of personal opinion. If the majority agree that there's no need to change, perfect. There's no point in repeating the same arguments in the hope that they turn into dogma.

And thanks for the long analysis, @Lanko  :) It just shows that, either way, there's no need to be so defensive about this, no matter where you stand. The contest has been working fine and that is what should matter.
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Offline Bradley Darewood

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #87 on: November 18, 2016, 12:51:33 AM »
Man, I was busy packing and I missed the fight!!!

It looks like there's two camps 1) pro-Anonymous subs b/c bias and 2) anti-Anonymous subs b/c... don't care about bias. Maybe there should be a third camp... 3) Anyone else besides me not care about bias but still like Anon subs?

Of course we all experience bias, but when I see someone vote for a story I didn't vote for, I don't assume they were biased, b/c obviously if they don't agree with me they just have shit taste (kidding!!!!!  Joking!!! ...sort of...)  In all honesty, as great as being bias-free would be I think you could drive yourself crazy trying to eliminate bias.  And given that there aren't cash awards for the winner, idk if you wanna bend over backwards trying to make the contest super pure.

That said guessing who was who was super fun!!! Having to wait 60 days to be able to comment on any of the stories and not being able to say who or what you thought royally sucks tho....  What if it was automatically anonymous for everyone but if say Nora wanted everyone to know who's hers was, she could give it a week or a day or 60 seconds and be like "yo, I wrote this one!"  and at any time she could do whatever she wanted with the prose she's working on outside as well.  Sooooo.... it's sort of the same as you always do (voluntarily anonymous), but it's anonymous by default so it's actually voluntarily non-anonymous? 

Just a thought....  I'm full of dumb ideas so, feel free to disregard.

Online The Gem Cutter

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #88 on: November 18, 2016, 02:34:55 AM »
It looks like there's two camps 1) pro-Anonymous subs b/c bias and 2) anti-Anonymous subs b/c... don't care about bias. Maybe there should be a third camp... 3) Anyone else besides me not care about bias but still like Anon subs?
Since I was the most vocal/only member of camp 1, Bradley, I request a different phrasing: "pro-Anon subs b/c it's more objective."  This is in line with my original statement "I am not suggesting we are overrun by bias, I am suggesting we are not immune from it."
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Offline Bradley Darewood

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Re: Anonymous Submission
« Reply #89 on: November 18, 2016, 03:54:16 AM »
Hahahahahaha. I'm an anthropologist so for us objectivity is a dirty word ;). But we're weirdos.

Unrelated aside: I got to the airport at 3:45... Every half hour we were told "not yet" until 7:00... When we sat on a plane to be deiced for an hour. We just landed in Denver but since the problem was here, we've been stuck waiting to get to the gate for over an hour. No idea if my connecting flight to LA will even be here.... FML

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