An unfair competition

I’ve just entered a travel writing competition run by the Daily Telegraph. It has some wonderful prizes, but the whole set up seems rather unfair, because once the piece has been approved, as mine already has, it then has to be read by others who have to vote for it. Obviously those who use social media will quickly get hundreds of loyal but not necessarily discriminating votes, and the winner will be the most popular contributor to Facebook rather than the best entry.

I’m not saying mine is better, but I’d like to feel my entry stands a chance in fair competition. So, my faithful blog followers, please┬áread my little story about meeting Robero Benigni in Pisa on the Telegraph.co.uk/Away with Words competition run by Saga, and vote for me!

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18 Responses to An unfair competition

  1. Ailsa James says:

    Hi Myra – I heartedly agree, it does seem an unfair process. I have also entered this competition. I don’t use facebook or twitter so stand little chance in getting high number of votes. So, I’ll read yours if you read mine – howzat? My story is set in the USA – National Parks of Arizona/Utah and starts: “Yep, that’s the Government for you, bunch of old Politicians….”
    Kind regards – and good luck in the competition.
    Ailsa

  2. Myra says:

    Thanks for the comment. Good to support a fellow writer! I can’t see how our entries can even be read since I’m not identified anywhere by a red pin on their map of the world – are you? I hope they receive so many complaints that the competition closes and is replaced by something sensible.

  3. Betty Maura-Cooper says:

    I don’t have a website, I’m just a hard-working elderly woman who loves to write. I was quite excited when I read about the competition and immediately set about entering it. I now find that it’s impossible for readers to see my story unless they’re friends that I’ve advised about the full address. My story is set in Dominica, West Indies, but if you click on the red pin you just get the one on the top. And now my computer won’t even log into sagaawaywithwords.co.uk/enter/dominica-west-indies since I made an adverse comment. Am I being paranoid thinking I’ve been blocked? Is that even possible?
    DIsgruntled Betty

    • Myra says:

      I’m glad people are objecting to the way this competition is being handled. I don’t have a hope of winning if it’s by votes rather than writing ability. In my case, I discovered several days after I’d entered that they had added an orange “pin” to the map and my piece was there, but squashed amongst many others so that it wasn’t necessarily possible to see it.

  4. Roger Cornwell says:

    Well, I have just voted for you Myra, and I hope others will do so, by going to sagaawaywithwords.co.uk/entry/pisa-italy/.

    The way to unsquash (is there such a word?) is to use the + sign to zoom in on the part of the world where the story is set. The way I actually found your story was to go to sagaawaywithwords.co.uk and click on VIEW OTHER STORIES at the foot of the page. This brings up a world map peppered with pins, but by pressing the + sign to zoom in, and dragging the map around (hold down the left mouse button) you can close in on individual stories – yours is the leftmost of the three across northern Italy.

  5. Myra says:

    Thank you Roger. This is so helpful for all techno dunces out there, including me.

  6. Noelle Clemens says:

    Myra, I couldn’t agree more, why should we be dragooned into using social media to collect votes? I too thought it was up to the expertise of the judges – otherwise it’s no more than an exercise in social pressure. Disappointed in both The Telegraph and Saga for adopting this method of decision-making. Good luck with your story, and to all the others who’ve taken the trouble to enter. P.S. Mine’s called Congo, so should be found somewhere half-way down the African continent.

    • Myra says:

      Thanks, Noelle. I’ve had more responses to this than anything else I’ve written, as well as other contacts. A lot of people clearly feel very strongly about this “competition” and the Telegraph and Saga should take note.

  7. Betty Maura-Cooper says:

    Well, it’s the last day for entries so perhaps we’ll find out if Saga/The Telegraph have taken note of all the adverse comments. It would be interesting to know how many entries they receive altogether. I used to run a short story competition for a local charity and entries were much more than 500 words, but with the help of 3 or 4 friends we read them all. We had a marking system, a,b or c, and the ‘c’ entries were dumped, the ‘b’ entries were read again by a different reader and were recategorized so that in the end I personally re-read all the ‘a’ entries. Lots of (unpaid) hours but fun and interesting.

    • Penny Rowland says:

      I found it interesting to read how your local competition was judged – a much better system and one which I might try for a writing group to which I belong.

  8. Myra says:

    Thanks for the further comment. Your competition sounds much fairer. I think you should send your comments to The Telegraph and Saga. Best of luck, but I think we already know that the best man or woman won’t win!

  9. I agree with others about the voting system. A mockery and so many hoops to jump thro’ to vote for any entry other than the three that pop-up first. Why make it so complicated? As has been stated it’s the ones with the most Twittering friends that will take the prize not the best writers.
    Mine is about zip wire ride in Costa Rica

  10. Penny Rowland says:

    I was pleased to see your comments about the unfair way in which this competition has been organised. I have now sent my entry in twice because it has not yet appeared in the Barbados spot. I knew I didn’t stand a chance of winning as I am not on Facebook but could have got a few votes if my friends had been able to read the article. I was interested to read someone’s comments about how they judge a local competition, a much fairer system.

  11. Ailsa James says:

    Hi Myra – I’m glad that you have received so much support re this competition. Like everyone I do not want to be pulled into using the social media of face-book and twitter and am surprised that Saga and the Telegraph are promoting its use. I wonder if they will actually release a list of the entries and the number of votes each received?
    Hey Ho, I think I’ll simply write it off as a lost cause – I did ask friends to cast their vote in my favour (mine was about our tour of USA Parks in shutdown) but they were actual friends not twits!
    Kind regards
    Ailsa

  12. vicki scott says:

    I agree with all the comments! A really twisted system of determining the winner. I thought it was going to be judged on merit. Must simply be a way of advertising Saga.
    Very disappointed. I don’t have Facebook! My story is set in Sumatra. Good Luck everyone!

  13. Myra says:

    I hope the many people who have posted comments/complaints about this competition have also let the Telegraph and Saga know how they feel. It seems to me that it could be a cynical bit of using writers to give them a lot of material for nothing. I’ll be interested to see how many of the no doubt well written pieces are published, and how they explain the choice of winners.

  14. Ann Bonner says:

    It’s so interesting to read all these comments – I don’t belong to any social media sites and in fact, the P.C. I use is at our local library or college. I’ve written about Vegeland Sculpture Park in Oslo, Norway, but the way this competition is set up,I doubt that I will receive votes, let alone any judging ! Shame on Saga – Catering for the over 50’s ?? I’m in my 60’s. The Telegraph Travel section will be gaining a lot of material !

    • Myra says:

      Thanks, Ann,for your reply. My guess is that Saga as well as The Telegraph will also find ways of using all this free copy written by talented writers who wrote their pieces painstakingly in the hope of a fairly judged competition. I’ve just received a patronising email from Saga thanking me for my entry and asking me to submit further details about myself so that they can send me information about future competitions. No thanks!