I try to keep my LJ kerfuffle free and generally steer very wide of any kerfuffles that occur on other journals. Because, for me, fandom is all about the fun and making new friends and being part of a community. But I'm going to pull out my tiny soapbox and have myself a bit of a rant today.
Several months ago, ladywenham
started the Raison D'etre Awards - these were awards for stories featuring Spike. She recruited a number of people, myself included, as judges. The awards were to have had three rounds: Round 1 was for William stories, Round 2 for Soulless Spike stories, and Round 3 for Souled Spike stories. Rounds 1 and 2 are finished; until last night, we were in the process of judging stories for Round 3.
Not anymore. Round 3 of the RDAs has been cancelled and ladywenham
has deleted her journal and left the fandom. She's received alot of flak regarding the RDAs, to the point where people whose stories hadn't won were emailing her and asking for judges' names so that they could email us and demand to know why their story didn't win. ETA: ladywenham's last message referred to receiving "another wave of complaints". One communication from one author requesting feedback doesn't constitute a 'another wave'. This post is in no way intended to single out one person.
I don't really know anything more than that - ladywenham
gave us neither names nor specific details. There was no bashing coming from her, but the level of exasperation in her last message to the judges and awards artists implied that there was alot of bashing directed at
her and at everyone involved in the judging process.
This is what I can tell you from my experience judging the RDAs:
of stories were entered in each category. So many stories were entered in Round 1 that we had to put a cap of 20 nominations per category in place for Rounds 2 and 3. (There are only so many stories you can read in a given interval of time - by way of illustration, those who were judging the Long Story category had to read 20 multi-chaptered stories, some with 40 or more chapters, in a month.) Do the math: If your story was one of 20 entered in a given category, then you had a 1-in-20 chance of winning. Those are relatively long odds.
2. The judges worked hard. Every one of us had alot of reading to do (see above). I took my laptop with me on holiday in order to have all my stories for Round 2 read by the deadline, and sought out the only public internet connection in a community of 350 people in a remote corner of Newfoundland so that I could email my scores in on time. I took my role as judge seriously and I know the other judges did the same.
3. The judges tried as best they could to be impartial and fair. Some of the nominated authors were on my flist; some were not. Some of the nominated authors were BNFs; some I'd never heard of before. I didn't care who the stories were written by - I did my level best to score each entry on its own merits and nothing else. (And, yes, we did have a scoring system in place.) We consulted one another on technical points - e.g., what to do if one of us thought that a story nominated in a certain category didn't really belong there - but never colluded or shared opinions or scores with each other. Each one of us evaluated the entries we were assigned independently. ladywenham
was the only person who saw all the scores submitted by the judges and she simply did the necessary calculations to determine the winners. The results of each round were as much of a surprise to us as they were to you.
4. Each category had more than one judge. Obviously, we have personal preferences just like anyone else does. Having multiple judges randomly assigned to the various categories was done to reduce the effect of personal preferences.
5. It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that judges were not assigned to evaluate categories in which any of their own stories had been entered.
I'm really disappointed that the RDAs have died such an unnecessary death. I hope that anyone who was nominated in any of the rounds was pleased by their nomination - it meant that there is at least one person out there somewhere who loved your story and thought it deserved recognition. I wish that those authors who had stories entered that didn't win could have responded with a little more grace and recognised the fact that there are alot of very deserving fanfic authors in this fandom - many of whom also didn't win because you can only have one winner at a time.
If anyone would like constructive feedback/criticism on their entries from me, feel free to comment or email. I may not have been the judge for your category, but if I was, then I will tell you my thoughts on it. There will be zero-tolerance for bashing ladywenham
or any of the judges - any such comments will be deleted.