As should be obvious from the last few posts of mine, I got involved with the Avon FanLit contest. It was a unique contest set up, looked interesting and I thought hey, why not, I'll give it a shot.
I met some great people. There are some *very* talented writers over there and I sincerely hope that those who have what it takes go on to publishing contracts and good things.
In the process, I also met some not so great people.
One of the rules set up at Avon FanLit was that people were not to create shill accounts, a shill being a duplicate account. Whether that was meant to be for reading the forums, submitting entries or voting on the contest rounds, it really didn't matter. It's right there in black and white, against the contest rules. And the penalty for doing so is disqualification.
And yet, during the course of competition, I was given convincing evidence that some contestants in an earlier round had done just that and were using shill accounts to "stack the deck".
Fan Lit, when provided with this information, chose and chooses not to acknowledge the cheating--because no matter how you spin it, it's cheating--publicly. Thanks to the phrase "sole discretion" in their rules, they don't *have* to acknowledge it. They can pick and choose when to enforce the rules and when to let a contestant slide.
They've made their choice, and so have I.
I cannot, in good conscience, be a part of a contest where the rules set forth are not upheld, where voting on another writer's hard work is not protected and there is no accountability or repercussion for abusing the system in place.
Some people may feel that all's fair and that doing anything to win is acceptable. Personally, I'd rather surround myself with people who succeed honestly.
Edited: I am not the only one posting about this.