I'd take a guess and suggest that some other entrants (or friends of) are down-voting other entries. There's some good works out there with lower than expected scores, which is a little sad to see. I know I've personally rated a few 9s and 10s out there. Sure, they might not be the greatest pieces of writing, but if it's informative, on topic and interesting enough to keep me reading, it deserves to be scored well.
I didn't want to say anything, but I'm getting the same feeling. All I know there are some really good pieces on here that deserve higher scores and some pieces that aren't so great with strangely high scores. Keep in mind I didn't even enter anything into the written contest, so either way it's doesn't effect me. Maybe it's the conspiracy theorist in me.
Millroy (24) Feb 19, 2007 - 09:15 am | Edited on Feb 19, 2007 - 09:20 am
Iíve put off weighing in for a few reasons. For one, Iím assuming this is the first time the FS staff have held this exact contest, so theyíll always be a degree of experimentation, and whatever they do, they probably wonít be able to make us all happy. Second, I was fairly happy with voting for my entry, so I didnít want to jinx anything. Third, Iím new here and donít want to rock the boat.
It seemed to me that after the first day (I wish Iíd logged times, because itís interesting) there were three or four strong articles leading the pack. Then, in a short period of time, the vote counts on some of those articles increased while their scores all went somewhat down, and a few other articles too the lead. The first thing that came to mind is what you all said Ė that in addition to voting some entries up, friends were voting the highest rated competitors down. Itís the only explanation I could eke out as to why the frontrunnersí scores shifted down suddenly. Well, either that, or a random distribution of legit votes happened not to appear very random, leading us to don our tinfoil hats.
If youíre going to have public voting of any kind, thereís no way to avoid friends helping friends out, so you might as well acknowledge and endorse it. Itís more fair than discouraging it, so that some choose not to while others do.
Also, for this round, Iím not so sure it made a huge difference, though itís not as if Iíve been charting this whole thing in excel. It might have messed with someone on the border of the top 15 in ratings, but thatís also why thereís judges.
I wondered about that as well, but I think part of it may be the lack of calibration in the scale. For example, I looked at 5 as "average" and the highest scores I gave were a few 9's, but I'd guess that a lot of folks (for perfectly good reasons) didn't approach scoring the same way. Anyway, I'm clearly out of step here - most of my high scores were much higher than the average for those pieces, and most of my low scores were much lower. ;)
I'm not really one to comment though - I asked a few friends of mine to vote for me and now I'm 14-15 votes clear of the next person.. I didn't think it'd matter that much, but now that I see how many votes people are getting, I rather wish I hadn't.
suibhne (65) Feb 15, 2007 - 07:49 am | Edited on Feb 15, 2007 - 07:50 am
My only concern is that the popular vote favors people who can mobilize online communities to visit and vote for their entries. It would be different if a broad cross-section of FS's readership read through all of these entries, but that's difficult to achieve. Once entries are narrowed down to, say, five or less, I can see a popular vote being weighed much more heavily in determining the final winners. At this stage, however, the field is pretty chaotic; a popular vote is more likely to be people connected with the individual writer than general readers who've had an opportunity to evaluate and compare all of the entries. ;)
Will scoring in later rounds be the same 400/300 split between editors and readers? I get the distinct feeling that a lot of people are rating these articles based on the subjects or affiliation to a particular author rather than the actual quality of writing. With such high stakes prizes, I would be much more comfortable if the non-partisan and more experienced judges had more influence.
Yes. FiringSquad judges will always have the majority of the points. The FiringSquad readers who are voting will play a much more important role where the judges scores are close between two or more competitors.
Will articles submitted later in the preliminary be compensated in any way? It seems as if articles submitted earlier have a tremendous advantage in terms of having more time to generate page views, more time to receive feedback and edit the article, and less initial competition for attention on the page.