February 2013 Writing Contest Winner Decision Delayed…
I want to thank everyone who has taken part in this month’s contest to either enter a story or vote for their favorite. There has been an amazing turn out that exceeded my expectations. Unfortunately, I am concerned over voting patterns in the past two days. They have been highly irregular compared to past competitions and have me worried this turned into a popularity contest as opposed to one based on merit. It has always been my goal to provide a place where people could enter their stories without fear of losing due to a lack of friends to vote for them. I admit it is impossible to fully prevent votes from coming in this way, but I usually have enough outside voters (who don’t know any of the finalists) to counteract such issues.
This time the voting reached almost 120 votes, which made it impossible for me to ensure fairness. I have monitored all public posts/messages/tweets put out by finalists and found them all to be within my guidelines. It could be that everyone played fair, but I feel it is only best to be sure.
ETA- I should emphasize here that I found no wrongdoing on the part of any of the finalists. None of them acted in any way that I could see as being unfair or dishonest. They all provided excellent stories that deserve recognition. No one should think otherwise. My decision to change the method of the final judging is one I made alone to ensure fairness for all parties involved.
For the first time in the history of the contest (it will be two years this June), I’m canceling the poll results in favor of using unbiased judges. At this time, I am in the process of contacting them and hope to have their votes in the next 24 hours or so. Some of these will be past winners and others will be people who have never participated in the contest. My hope is to get an honest sampling so as to declare a winner and runner-up without any doubts. These judges will cast their votes to me privately, but I will post the vote totals after I’ve received them all.
My apologies to everyone for the delay. This is not how the contest is usually ran, as anyone who has followed this blog for long can testify. It is certainly an exception to the rule and a decision I hated to make. I hope the finalists will understand and find this to be a suitable alternate method to decide the winner in a fair manner. Thank you for your patience.