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This week: Judging And CompetenceEdited by: ~Minja~
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"It was the secret to winning any contest, he said, in life or in the boxing ring – you just had to get up more than you fell down." ~ Kameron Hurley, Rapture
"Once there is realization of self challenge, ego versus soul, competition with others becomes futile." ~ T.F. Hodge
"The possibility of failure does not prevent contestants from competing because when we are optimistic, we tend to ignore failure. But it is failure that teaches success. Success and failure are not simultaneous; one must take precedence." ~ Vincent Okay Nwachukwu
udging a writing contest isn't an easy job to perform. Before everything, judge supposed to be someone who is competent to make the right choices and decisions. If you check out some of the contests and activities here on Writing.Com, you will notice that, among other rules, there is the one that says: Judges' decision is final. What does this mean? It means that the competitors shouldn't question the judges' competence or complain about the fairness of the results. In my six years of experience with this site, I judged different contests, I run different contests, I entered different contests, and I also read members' complaints about the fairness of the contests' results. They usually talked about how the same members win all the time, how the judges have tendencies toward specific case colors (members rank), how only judges' friends win, and so on. Complaints don't happen often but they do happen from time to time. Sometimes, judges are judged too, no matter how hard we try to bring the right decisions and the best results. Such as life.
If you are someone who is running your first contest here and even if you are experienced contest maker, here are some ideas on what you should offer as a judge:
A good judge should step out of their comfort zone of thinking and consider other individual's points of view. This doesn't mean they have to agree with it or completely adopt this new way of thinking based on what they just read. It simply means being aware that not everyone thinks/sees/feels the same things as we do.
There are so many members on this site to whom English is the second language. My personal experience here is quite positive. Those of you who know me from the very first day on the site know how much I improved regarding language. It's still not perfect and I still mostly use simple English, but I try to read as much literature in English as I can in order to discover new words and phrases so I can implement it in my own writing. I'm not suggesting forgiveness for all ESL members who submit their entries, only consideration of not the lack of grammar skills but the language barriers.
Some contest prompts don't require specific genres or types of writing. For example, you give a picture prompt and tell contestants to write about the sinking ship that is on the picture. As you can see, here we have plenty of story/poem ideas. Your contest may attract all kinds of writers; some of them will write a horror story about the sinking ship, others will write a cute, children story or a free verse poem. The judge of this contest should be someone without a preference for a specific genre/type. They should be able to adapt quickly to every form of writing.
When you create a contest, you have to determine content rating for the entries. There is probably no issues with this one when your contest accepts entries up to, let's say, 13+. But, if your contest accepts entries up to XGC, then a judge also should be someone who has no issues with swear words or extreme content in stories and poems. If you as a judge, or one of the judges of your contest, has the slightest issues with the highly-rated content (i.e. doesn't find f-bombs appropriate in creative writing, is offended by someone else's personal opinion, can't read explicit scenes, etc.), then, perhaps, you should consider finding someone who doesn't have prejudices toward content ratings or you can change the general rules of the contest that would be acceptable for the judges and for the participants as well.
We all have favorite authors—on site and off site—and we are all excited when they drop the latest writing update. As it happens with favorite authors, they almost never disappoint. Whatever they write, we'll want them to get recognition for their hard work. There is nothing wrong with sending a little MB or awardIcon as a token of appreciation for their work but it is a big NO to play favoritism while judging a contest. Of course, there will be a time when your favorite author submits the winning entry and you shouldn't be completely dismissive just because he/she is your favorite (or a friend). The point here is to treat all contestants the same.
As I mentioned at the beginning, judging a contest isn't the easiest job to perform, but, if you do it right, it can be a rewarding experience. Don't shy away from it.
Until next time, keep it fair and fun.
Excerpt: This is a current, official Writing.Com contest with the musical prompt: "The Long Way Around" by The Chicks (f.k.a. The Dixie Chicks). The submission deadline is: 11:59 pm EST, July 31, 2020
Excerpt: Authors on Writing.Com are looking for good, useful feedback... and of course, exposure within Writing.Com. You can do a good deed by reviewing any qualifying item* on Writing.Com and you might win! Enter as many times as you want to increase your odds of being selected as a prize winner!
Excerpt: A contest where prompts are posted every 24 hours to inspire your poetry muse. Yes, I'm hosting this contest, but I am definitely not claiming to be an expert on poetry. Far from it, there's much better poetry writers on the site. Although, if they were running this contest, I wouldn't get to see their wonderful entries!
Excerpt: Want to complete writing a book but not making much progress? Looking for a community of friends to write with you? Seeking a motivation to restart your stalled writing projects? In here, we are learning to take one small step at a time.
Excerpt: What is that? The Fox's Socks is a place envisioned by Jayne and GeminiGem🐒 . They have been members of this site for a while and wanted a place to help people who have been here less than a year benefit from the great things WdC offers.
There will be challenges that will help you learn how the site works as well as help you make the most of Writing.Com. The end goal is to give you the tools to help you grow as a writer as well as enjoy the activities and community here.
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