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 Category:  Essay Non-Fiction
  Posted: August 14, 2018      Views: 257

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 ABOUT
CEDAR 

My name is Bill and my pen name is Cedar. Cedar is the type of wood I use in making a variety of wood crafts, which is one of my favorite hobbies. This profile picture was taken many years ago.

I am a Federal retiree and worked at Fort Kno - more...

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Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
A few things that needs to be changed...
"One Man's Opinion" by Cedar



Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  If we all had the same thought process this would be a very dull world.  One of the most published opinions that I have ever read is that of the famous poet, writer, and editor Carl Sandburg.  He stated, "I believe that a baby is God's opinion that life must go on."

As we all know, the daily writing prompts here at Fanstory could use a major overhaul.  Most of us have completely quit joining these contests because they are so boring and repetitious.  The site did sponsor a suggestion program a few years ago in the forum asking the membership to offer new ideas for the daily prompts and the members responded with many great suggestions.  However, some were only used for a short time.  My suggestion here would be that management should once again let the membership suggest new subjects that they would like to write about. New material would definitely increase everyone's enthusiasm about participating in more contests.

Now, the site has basically reverted back to the old versions which have caused the loss of interest for many writers. 
Especially for those of us who joined Fanstory strictly for the contests.  We all love to write or else we wouldn't be here.  Having new fresh subjects to write about would help to sharpen our skills, instead of writing the same old formats all the time.  The old prompts are never filled with entries, not even close.  So, they just keep rolling over and over for days and weeks at a time until they finally reach a certain number of entries. Usually, that number is only five and is very seldom reached without involving a great deal of time. 

This should have alerted management a long time ago that this system isn't working and changes need to be made in order to gain back the writer's participation.

But the suspense is not over once the magic number of 5 has been reached. After being held in limbo for days or weeks, it's then passed on to the Contest Entry Compliance Committee (CECC). From there, if the CECC finds one or more entries that do not comply with the rules, instead of disqualification, which to my knowledge is how it's supposed to be done, those contestants are then given extra time, supposedly 24 hours, to get their entries in compliance.  But sometimes, this can take anywhere from hours to days or at least it has in the past.  This waiting period is definitely unfair to the other contestants.  I have personally been in many contests with other entries that did not meet the rules and reviewed those entries suggesting where they needed to make the necessary changes. I have been told, "mind your own business, stick your suggestions," and a variety of other wonderful ideas. After waiting long periods for these entries to make minor corrections, they all then go to the voting booth.  And then suddenly you find out that the voting booth is open for 3 or 4 more days, which only prolongs the aggrevation.

So, by now, these members and all members in this situation could end up having several weeks invested before everything becomes final. IF the CECC would automatically disqualify the entries that clearly did not meet the rules plainly stated on the submission page, which would only be a loss of $5.50 "funny money" and, if the site went back to 2 submissions instead of 5 before proceeding, just by doing these two things probably would reduce the time involved by several days. An automatic disqualification(s) can serve as a helpful learning experience by making us more alert to comply with the rules and also by pushing us to work much harder to prevent it from happening again.

The length of time in the completion of many of our regular contests is extended much too long. Which probably is a big factor in the low number of participating contestants. The site really needs to concentrate on correcting this problem before most of the members completely lose all their interest in contests.

Meanwhile, I think the site has found a way to combat the lack of new daily writing prompts.  It's what I call the "syllable syndrome." This disease is spreading fast folks and now it's out of control.  Not even Doctor Phil could cure this.  However, that's understandable because this is the only type of prompt that will normally fill all the slots in a hurry.  The reason for that is, they require very little time and very little work. "Wait just a damn minute, I love those contests," you say.  Well, I do too, occasionally.

We originally started with the Japanese Haiku and Senryu, both 5-7-5's.  I think these two shapely forms must have shared too much Saki (fermented rice) which lead to unsafe sex.  Now, there's little 1-6-1's, 1-9-1's, 2-4-2's, 3-5-3's and several more running around all over the place and they just keep multiplying. Also, the prompts for writing poems using a certain amount of words, usually 10 or less, are spreading like wildfire. I just saw one announced using 6 words (wow). How can any of us become better writers by using prompts like these constantly? And, how can you properly rate and review something this short? These are like what young school children would receive for homework assignments. Whatever happened to writing poems that requires some time and effort and that feeling of pride once you've posted your masterpiece?

Member sponsored contests are available, but from past experience, they can occasionally be a hassle.  Usually from members who don't like the way the contest was set up, so they offer suggestions on ways to make it better.  I guess they forget that you're the one that paid to sponsor the contest, therefore, you're the one who makes the rules. A large majority of the members seem to prefer not to get involved in sponsoring contests, so it's normally the same members that do all the sponsoring. Possibly, one of the reasons why more members don't participate is because we not only have to pay to sponsor a contest, we also have to pay to join it.  That's a double-whammy and it certainly doesn't seem fair at all. If the site removed one of these fees, maybe more members would sponsor contests.

Also, there are seldom very few that join member sponsored contests regardless of what the topic is about.  Even when members are given the opportunity to vent about something they dislike, they don't take advantage of it.  As of right now, this contest is going to be a perfect example of that.  Perhaps, if the sponsors would make some of their contests "Winner Takes All" it would possibly attract more attention.  Personally, winning the full $90.00 prize (funny money) sounds a hell of a lot better than splitting the pot 10 different ways and receiving $1.97.  I believe that the number of entries would increase in the daily writing prompts if the site sponsored more "Winner Takes All" contests.  Recently, I saw a contest that just completed the voting booth which had 12 entries and all 12 contestants split the pot!  Seriously, how could this possibly be of any benefit to anyone?

Personally, I'm not a fan of splitting the prize money. They don't split the pots with "real" prize money, such as the $100.00 site writing contests nor the monthly reviewing contests.  Which brings up the question, when there are ties in these contests AND ties are unavoidable whenever there's competition, what does the selection committee do in order to break those ties, flip a coin? 

In my opinion, winning one of the site contests that offer the $100.00 prize is harder to win than it would be to impeach Donald Trump. Although, for some reason, it doesn't seem difficult for a few of the writers whose names are frequently listed on the homepage on a regular basis. Whereas, there are many fantastic writers here who have not had that honor after trying for several years. Some have mentioned that they just got aggravated and stopped trying. Sadly, when the end result is constantly on the negative side, it's time to step away.
~~~

  
Competition is basically what Fanstory is all about and the skill levels come at various stages. There are many very talented writers that enter contests and that makes it almost impossible for the less experienced writers to ever win. My suggestion for this would be to make it a standard rule in every contest, that only those who have not won a contest in a certain length of time would be eligible to enter.  When you think about it, this would be the only way to make joining contests more desirable for all the members. I realize that this will not be a popular suggestion, but honestly, I don't know of any other way. To my knowledge, 30 days is the option now but that's only for member sponsored contests, plus, that seems like a very long time to wait.  

Competition is on every menu here, and I'm sure each member has their favorite writers, which is only normal. However, if you regularly check the completed voting booths and see the same writer's names listed 3 or 4 times (or more) as a winner, it's time to change the damn rules! It's simply not fair!  We all pay our membership fees, therefore. everyone deserves an equal chance.  However, that will never happen as long as all writers are allowed to enter each contest regardless of how many contests they have recently won. This needs to be changed!

There are many members here at Fanstory that would love to win an occasional contest, it would definitely be a morale booster and entice more members to participate.  The way things are now, many do not participate because they believe they simply don't have a chance to win against more talented writers. Plus, in my opinion, they also believe that most voters will cast their vote for their favorite writers anyway, regardless whether or not it's the best entry. I certainly believe that. By having a time limit between each win, that would level the playing field for everyone. If management would make this change, it could possibly increase the number of entrants in each contest. And also, it would perhaps finally give "all" those who wish to participate an equal opportunity by placing everyone on a rotational basis between each win.
~~~

As far as voting for your friends goes, that's something that most assuredly happens daily and, most likely, it always will.  I guess the big question is, do your friends return the favor? Here are a few more valid questions, would you still vote for a friend or favorite writer if there were several entries much better than theirs? And, would this be considered cheating? I suppose all we can do when we're faced with these situations is to let our conscience by our guide.
~~~

Cheating has never been a big problem in my ten years as a member, to my knowledge. Although, with a membership as large as Fanstory has, it's bound to happen one way or another.  We have to realize that cheating is everywhere and it's probably impossible to prevent.  Hopefully, it's just a matter of not knowing the rules. Yeah right!
~~~

Gaining popularity is something that most members probably don't have much interest in/myself included. However, for those who wish to gain popularity, I believe the first priority should be to build a large fan base.  Secondly, write informative and helpful reviews, especially for the new members. The long-term members know where the "nice stuff" ends and the "bull" begins. Thirdly, stay active in the forums by helping anyone that you can by answering all the questions that you can.  Fourthly, congratulate other writers on their accomplishments.  Most writers will remember you for doing that, I certainly do.
~~~

In closing, I would like to say that even though there are a few minor problems in certain areas, we tend to forget how good things really are here at Fanstory. I find Fanstory to be the best writing site by far, there are no other sites that come close in comparison. Although, I suppose that we all get discouraged about different things at times and think about quitting occasionally. When and if this happens, we must remember to take a moment and ask ourselves, "where else online could we have this much fun doing what we love to do?"




 


Review: Contests and Competition contest entry

Recognized

Author Notes
I apologize for the length of this essay. However, these are subjects that have many issues to talk about. I thank you very much for your time and patience...Bill
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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