Tech stuff at a most inopportune time

Good evening!

I came to the office to enter this announcement, and discovered our host is updating their end of the site which has led to the temporary shutdown of our slider and postings. Diana and Morgan will no doubt solve the problem, but it may be late tomorrow before we are back on track, as Morgan is in Berlin and Diana is in San Diego.

It may be that there will be a short delay in announcing our winner, perhaps a day or two.

But choosing the winner is what I wanted to post to you all:

We have many fine stories in our finals, with no one story clearly “better” than all the rest.  It means that to judge them is not a recognition of the most outstanding story, but an expression of the personal tastes of a judge. I have already made my own choices, based on my own prejudices about what makes a good story, and not the content of theme of the story.

But the winner will not be validated exclusively according to my own tastes. The winner will be selected, this one time (perhaps with some modification for later contests) in this fashion:

Everyone who entered the contest will be allowed to vote, even the finalists.  Everyone has three votes–two which they will ascribe to their favorite story and one vote to their second favorite story. Those who are immediate staff here- meaning Gary, Diana Diehl, Derek Thompson, will have five votes; three votes for their favorite, and two for second favorite.

And rank definitely has its privileges: I have ten votes–seven for my favorite and three for second favorite.

This is time sensitive, and if you happen not to get this notice in time to vote there is always bribery.

Your votes should be sent to It should look like this:

2 votes: contestant # _____

1 vote:  contestant # _____

As soon as we have the technical problem solved I will post a blog that will allow everyone to discuss their choices.  Please don’t include much text when you send me your votes, as I will not have a lot of time to respond to them all. Save the discussions for the blog to share with everyone.

Five Franklins are just dying to travel through cyberspace to the hands of our winner.

As of this posting, all votes must be received by Sunday, noon, Moscow time (Pacific Standard) I am sending this post as an email as well to all the participants, but if tech glitches are not quickly resolved, I will postpone the announcement of the winner accordingly.  Peggy is watching…we can’t screw this up.









32 thoughts on “Tech stuff at a most inopportune time

  1. elizabeth sloan says:

    That is a heck of a lot of brain function for we mere mortals. I like the challenge though of finding a creative solution to the said glitch. Whatever. It’s a glorious process and I’m pleased to be part of this step. May the best, or the worst, or the most, or the least, or whatever, find satisfaction. Onward. And thank you Thorn (okay, aka bribe as it were), for your extraordinary amount of time devoted to this, to us, to thee and thou.

  2. diana_SD says:

    Don’t let Thorn fool you. This is just a ploy to get you all on the edge of your seats to see who wins the coveted prize. I’m not really pulling my hair out and screaming indelicate epithets at my screen, the Web host, content management systems, and the Programming Gods tonight. No, not at all. — Diana, whose brain is full and can’t remember her Disqus password, so now Disqus has banned me …

    • thorn says:

      If you will go to the contests on the menu bar and pull it down for current contests And perhaps then Peggy Dobbs You should find all of the entries. If that is too complicated send me $25 through Paypal and I will vote on your behalf. Or you can be patient and wait until Diana and Morgan have us back on the site. at that point all of the final is stories should be up

      • diana_SD says:

        It looks like the workaround is in place. For those interested in the technical details, our Web host, which hosts the A Word with You Press Web site, is upgrading the programming languages everything uses on the backend. That’s a good thing, because newer versions are more secure.

        WordPress, our content management system, uses these programming platforms, as do various plug-ins to WordPress and the theme.. Plug-ins provide special functions, like calendars and slide shows. Themes define how the site looks. Unfortunately, some of these elements don’t like the new backend changes and come to a screeching halt faster than a semi on giant bed of nails.

        Until and unless the programmers who made each of these elements decides to make them all compatible with the backend changes, we have to manufacture workarounds, which Morgan has done with admirable alacrity.

        All I can say is, “Yay!”

        • Mac Eagan says:

          And all I can say is, “Wow, those technical details sure were … technical. And detailed. Anybody got an aspirin?”
          Seriously, thank you, Diana and Morgan, for your responsiveness and efforts in getting the playground back open.

          • diana_SD says:

            Uh, oh, was my technogeek showing? How about this? “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN. THE GREAT OZ HAS SPOKEN!!”

  3. Glclark says:

    I have a call in to Raf-I-el (Ted) Cruz office to see if those Commie, right wing, bad dudes have anything to do with THIS shut-down. Seems they like to do that a lot………

  4. Parisianne Modert says:

    Rather a twist in the knickers and not close to cricket is this sudden voting change, but all right, what is a writer to do but play in a rock and roll band, eh Mick? I noticed this announcement quite by mistake late Saturday night after a flurry of actual crisis had disturbed my poorly thoughtout evening. So I have voted as requested: although dumbfounded and feeling foolish and a bit put out. I put my heart into this contest as did others by several measures and suppose that the game playing within is a turnoff to me. I write this, because I would wish success to this publishing firm more than cliquish obscurity. I write this because the quality of writing by some within this contest (some not included within the finals in my opinion) deserves professional considerations from those doing separate considerations within the industry.

    I will add that the voting process does have merits and advantages, so if there are to be more competitions, I would request that the rules of voting at the end are more upfront and available. I suspect that there are many writers, who originally entered this contest, who will not realize they are being requested to vote on the winner of said contest.

    I might add that the e-mail alone would not have lead me to enter my voting. In addition, I wish to add that while I can not find fault in those guessing incorrectly about the authoress of my story, I do take offense by those attempting to mislead newer readers as to the transparency I offered by claiming my story. I take pride in my writing of stories and poems unless I am writing in offense of the personal habits of others.

    I suggest to all of you to vote for your favorite story among the finalist by whatever method you choose, but not the writer. This is a writing contest not a popularity contest. Let the judgment voting begin; although it is unclear to me which Sunday by noon is implied. If it is today, I hope you will vote post haste.

    • thorn says:

      To make certain that the voting is not a personality contest, the final stories were published without attribution. The technical difficulty is not just our site; it is web wide with everyone who uses word-press.

      There was the potential of having an impartial judge–one who has never seen our website– to judge the contest. But I am pleased with my choice to allow those who wrote stories to continue participation in an active way rather than just waiting passively for results. Thus far the voting is very close between two stories.

      Many people get an automatice notice when there is a new posting, but since our carousel (like countless other word-press subscribers) is temporaily out of commission, as you correctly suggest, many people may be unaware that we are encouraging our contest entrants to vote, and we are adapting to the technical glitch which is not of our making.

      Because these technical glitches have constricted communication, I AM EXTENDING THE VOTING DEAD-LINE TO NOON, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17th, Pacific Standard Time, regardless of the status/functionality of the website.

      This will give me time to notify all participants again through email, who as you rightly suggested may be unaware of way I have chosen to select the winner, or the disturbance in The Force. Sorry about your knickers!

      • Parisianne Modert says:

        Changed my knickers as every good Brit girl of fantasy should do before TeaTime. I appreciate the additional time to allow a fuller vote of those participating either by written entry or by publishing hierarchy whether amongst the colony uprising or the far more civilized side of the pond in the UK. Ta ta and God Bless the Queen whom you can be most assured is grateful that she is not me. As long as we are playing fanciful games may I suggest Vicars and Tarts?

      • Kristy Webster says:

        I know you’ve put your heart and soul into this contest, Thorn, and into coming up with the most fair and impartial way to judge the winner. Thanks for all your hard work.

    • Mac Eagan says:

      I, for one, always give more credence to the opinions of my friends than to opinions offered by distant strangers. And what better way is there to make friends than by playing games with them?

      I don’t agree with your suggestion (if I understand you correctly) that writers not vote on their own stories. There may be some who would vote their own story their favorite regardless of how it compared to others, but there are honest people in our midst – those who would hold out their sword while on bended knee and proclaim, “Sire/milady, you have bested me,” along with those who, doing their best to be impartial, do see their entry as the best story entered.

      Although staff gets to vote with more valuable tokens, and Thorn votes with the largest tokens of all (Thorn, Gary, you two just hush), it seems only fair that if the finalists are allowed to vote then they should have the same voting power as any other writer in this contest. Give them the same voting coins as have been provided to the other initial contestants and let them cast them as they please.

      And, finally, on the issue of author’s receiving their rightful due, at the end of every “non-attributed” event, Thorn reveals the true author’s identities. We are all proud of what we write and we don’t someone else getting credit for the work we have done (and I want criticism of me coming to me) and Thorn understands that. All he has asked is that the identities remain cloaked for a few days so that we can all vote based on what we perceive as the best written piece. Yes, he asked us to guess who the authors were. The guesses that were posted were not in agreement and thus did not truly reveal anything in advance. If there had been any concern about authors not getting the recognition they deserve, the posting of the simple question, “Will the names be revealed at the end?” or that same question sent to Thorn in a private email would have sufficed, rather than oppose the system he set in motion in an attempt to be fair and to keep the site fun.

  5. Chuck Chuckerson says:

    The whole “without attribution” thing kind of sucks because we can’t interact with our readers in the comments without revealing ourselves and ruining the whole thing. :/ It also makes it difficult to leave comments on the stories of other participants because that would also be revealing.

    • Mac Eagan says:

      You are right that non-attribution raises a challenge as far as interacting with readers’ comments.
      On the matter of commenting on the other stories- do what Mike Stang did: comment on all the stories, including your own. I noticed Stefanie did not comment on any for this contest. From past contests with non-attribution, she has said she does not feel comfortable commenting on her own story; she does not want to praise herself (the best praise does come from others) and she also does not want to point out any possible flaws (there is a contest to win, after all).
      But comments can be neutral or one can wait for others to comment and if there is a recurring theme that you agree with, repeat that comment in your own words.
      I like the non-attrib aspect from at least one angle: it really does allow us to focus on the story itself.

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