because I can.
The purpose of these contests has always been to encourage written expression and to give each participant a chance for recognition and to get feedback from peers and professionals, with a view to make everyone better at the craft we collectively pursue. We provide incentives to make it more fun, like our trophies. (Rarely, by the way, have the fees we charge to participate covered the costs of buying and sending engraved trophies to the winners)
I encouraged our authors to post their stories on FB in the hopes that others would be intrigued by our site and take the chance to enter our contests. To that end, I allowed those who read posts but do not actually enter the contests two votes: I always assumed they would vote for the author who invited them to the site, since the invitation would only come from a friend. So I required every non-participant to read and comment on at least three stories, gave them two votes, which could not be for the same author.
This has backfired. I am getting votes emailed to me before the contest is even over, and the kind of comments that are left are often superficial, and this shows lack of respect for the authors.
SO…I am changing the voting rules mid-contest: ONLY THOSE WHO ENTERED THE CONTEST will be allowed to vote. I will still be selecting 5 finalists, 3 according to my own professional judgment/tastes/prejudices, and 2 at random. I will present a prompt Monday morning, the finalists will have 48 hours to write and submit, and then voters–those who actually entered our contest, will have three votes: Two for their favorite, One for their next favorite–and they can’t vote for themselves.
I attached a warning shot over the bow of a recent entry, but my comments had nothing at all to do with the author posted or her followers and friends. It’s just that folks don’t always read the important stuff, unless I sneak it in after a contest entry, which folks do tend to read.
I shall make it a point to offend everyone equally the next time around. You always have the option of replacing me…oh…wait !…you don’t!