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"Blind" Judging for Future Writing Contests?

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posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 09:34 AM
I'd like to see how people feel about the idea of Blind Judging for future writing contests to guarantee against unintentional bias. Not that I think people would purposely judge unfairly, but I know how hard it is to be completely unbiased when judging something, and Blind Judging just makes it easier, more professional and fair, in my opinion.

A new member or virtually unknown member may not get the same consideration as a long-time, well-known member or a moderator, and Blind Judging would take that factor out of the equation.

Blind judging is when there are no names (or identifying avatars) on the stories being judged. All stories would be submitted via email or U2U to an "organizer" (not a judge), and he or she would then post them on the board. The stories would be numbered or lettered for identification.

Each writing is judged by several different judges. And a overall winner emerges.

What do you think about this for future contests?

Edited (again) for clarity.

[edit on 1-2-2009 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 09:41 AM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

But when they post their writings, they must use their user name. And the judge might already know who the author is.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 09:45 AM
reply to post by peacejet

The author doesn't "post" their writing. They send it (email or U2U) to the organizer (masqua, for example, who organized the most recent contest - YYSLSC), then HE posts them to the board. So all stories would have masqua's avatar and be numbered. In this case, masqua would not be a judge.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 09:53 AM
Then it will be fine, a great idea, hope it is implemented.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 10:01 AM
This is a very good idea!

And it is also the way it is done by magazines and publishing houses when they arrange writing contests. The people in the jury who reads the manuscripts do not know the names of the authors, and this is how it must be to ensure that the judging is fair and based ONLY on the quality of the manuscripts.

[edit on 1/2/09 by ziggystar60]

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 10:09 AM
so you are assuming that stories are judged by the member, and not their story?
my gosh, i would like to think ats members are above those kind of playground politics.
however, i see your suggestion as a viable option, hopefully masqua does too, and i think perhaps we should test it out.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 11:25 AM

Originally posted by AccessDenied
so you are assuming that stories are judged by the member, and not their story?

No. As I said: "Not that I think people would purposely judge unfairly, but I know how hard it is to be completely unbiased when judging something, and Blind Judging just makes it easier, more professional and fair, in my opinion."

And I see that you approve of the idea too. Does that mean you assume the stories are judged by the member, and not their story?
Neither do I.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 11:37 AM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

I actually never thought that stories were being judged based on anything but the stories themselves.
If they were being judged on another basis, i'm sure masqua would pick up on that, and in my opinion, that would be just tasteless.
The point is to judge and appreciate the story, no matter who the author is, and that's why I 100% support your idea.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 11:41 AM
I LOVE the idea, can we please at least try it one time to see what happens?

I rarely get any replies other than from my friends, and have wondered if they would have enjoyed the story as much if it were from a fellow member they have had differences from...

Also it has been interesting to watch new stories get posted to the contests and they instantly get stars and flags, and then no more, so is it forum bias? probably.

When a MOD puts a story out I always feel odd if I comment but give them no S@f, as if I am creating a rift.

And as for the 'known' writers here, could we figure out their writing from their style? I think I could figure out a few of my personal favorites with ease.

I always try to help out the underdogs or the people with no comments... Why do I do this? It could be the bias I feel towards the newer writers.

Luckily a few of the best writers from the forum have come to me in private over the past couple of years and advised me a bit, or I would not be where I am today. Admittedly, an uneducated writer with a good imagination but no skills... I remember the first time someone told me I needed paragraphs! Eeek, how embarrassing, but I learned...

I would love to see a no bias short story contest, but I think we would all be able to pick out our favorite writers from their styles. perhaps we could do one like that and call out some of the writers I miss so badly. And yes many are Mods I think...

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 11:54 AM
I'm have only participated once in this forum, but I enjoyed it so much that I think I'd like to do it some more.
I do enjoy reading the stories, though. We have some talented people here!

I must admit, the suggestion of AccessDenied that I'm assuming some sort of impropriety on the part of the judges stings a little. That was not my intent or assumption at all. I'm new to this forum and I didn't mean to come off as assumptive or step on anyone's toes. I just thought it would be more fair as any unconscious bias would be eliminated...

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 02:18 PM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

i apologize if i made you feel that way. that's just the way i read into what you were saying and as we all know occasionally posts are misconstrued. however, i'm sure it wouldn't be the first time an accusation like that had been made though.
i'm sure it is true for some of the stars and flags perhaps, but they have little to do with the judging.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 07:01 PM
I think the idea has merit, especially when we use a judging panel which has regular members on it. I'm not saying that there is anything to the charge that cronyism exists in judging, either with members or only staff, because I honestly don't believe that's happened in the past. A quick look through the 'Winners' thread will show that the stories chosen as contest winners are consistently brilliant and interesting to read.

(including my own

That said, when volunteers are chosen it is usually first come, first serve. Consider yourself to be one of those judges. Which would you prefer?

A story written anonymously or one tied to a certain member?

I have to say, that if judging were to be left to me alone, I would prefer to just have the stories to read, make my decision and then find out who the authors were. That way, no-one could ever think or say I was biased in any way because I 'liked' a certain contestant more than another.

It sure is worth discussing at the very least and, imo, easily implemented.

As members with Writer status will likely be requested to judge in future contests, I'm interested in your take on this idea should you volunteer.

[edit on 1/2/09 by masqua]

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 07:33 PM
I think blind judging is a fantastic idea. I would be all for it. It would remove any unintentional, or even intentional bias.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 07:33 PM
I think the idea should at the very least be given a shot. Allow the organizer to have a second ATS ID and avatar with a neutral Hotmail account where every story could be submitted and then posted to the board.

Once the winners are determined the organizer could notify the mods and the board of the ID's of those who submitted the winning entries.

It adds a new angle to the contest and could actually be fun.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 07:51 PM
I Googled with these terms: writing contest anonymous judging.

Seems like it's a fairly common practice to do exactly what BH has suggested.

All manuscripts should be screened and judged anonymously by readers who should recuse themselves from considering work by someone with whom they have a strong, personal relationship. This gets to the heart of the debate over fairness. First, I don’t believe having readers or judges sign an ethics statement, as some have suggested, will help. Unscrupulous judges will bend the truth whether they sign an oath or not. Contest sponsors, however, can prevent judges from handpicking students or friends. Like most contests, the Arts & Letters competition begins with an anonymous screening process of initial readings by our editorial staff. This establishes a firewall against judges who might try to preselect manuscripts from hundreds of submissions. Final judges should have no idea who the finalists will be.

To insure anonymous judging, take your name OFF of your manuscript before uploading it to this site. (The file name will be unviewable by judges, but the file itself will be read -- so, your file name may contain your name, but not the text within the file.)

All submissions go through an initial screening process, where they are labeled with an anonymous identifier code and are checked for compliance with Competition rules.

posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 08:37 PM
I think it is a great idea and am interested in the fact that you started this thread, BH...

For the past month I have been trying to figure out how to implement blind judging for the Debate Forum. Sadly, it is consistent enough to where I think that a simple compare/contrast of past debates would make identification pretty easy.

But a great idea for the Writing Competitions in my opinion...

posted on Feb, 2 2009 @ 04:47 PM
I gotta say I like this idea...


posted on Feb, 2 2009 @ 04:56 PM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

Excellent idea, marvelous idea, obviously correct idea.
I think they should have the stories be submitted to an external email address and not via U2U...just because it's easier for the computer semi-illiterate like myself to have a longer story fit into one email than to figure out how to stitch together multiple U2Us, or work around length constraints (I know it's a hardship to have to teach to the level of the dumbest person in the room, but for U2Us vs. emails, why not...)

posted on Feb, 2 2009 @ 05:09 PM
"Blind" Judging for Future Writing Contests?

At first glance, the title mislead me into thinking that a person with 'no' eyesight would 'hear' the story being told by a reader and judge the writing based on how well the story comes across as 'realistic' in the mind of the blind person.

But then again, 'blind' judging 'sounds' better than relying on avatars, user names or other identifiable data as basis for judging a 'better' writer than a newbie.

posted on Feb, 4 2009 @ 05:10 PM
Hey just popping back to say that I have been in many contests and love them just as they are, I have never felt judge bias in any way, and if you look at the wide variety of past stories that have won, there is no link to a corruption.

I do enjoy certain writers and their styles, so if I only have a short time to read I admit I go to my favorite knows first, but that is not a negative, as I said I always love the underdogs and new writers too, and eventually get to them all.

Can we have it both ways? Once we make a change here it sometimes gets cemented and there is no turning back. Will it take a lot of effort to make the anonymous submissions?

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