Sunday, March 12, 2006

Event Hosting gripe

Now I don't want to upset anyone specifically here (which would be unusual to say the least) but I have just hosted SHF - thanks to all who took part - and have a couple of moans.

The event is well advertised and even has 'Friday' in its name. Should I have ignored all those late posters - those who sent in details on the Sunday for example. Or even those who sent in details LAST weekend?

Were the instructions not clear enough? Emails were expected and not trackbacks or comments (on the original announcement and on my entry). Should I have ignored those who didn't follow the instructions? And really was an email AND a comment really necessary? Just added to my confusion and time to sort out the entries.

I also asked for a country of residence; amazing how many didn't bother giving me the details. If this was a 'proper' competition to win something all these 'bad' entries (like a voting paper) would have been classed as null and void. Should I have done the same?

Now several people were great - subject correct, post url, country, name etc others though were annoying... or perhaps I am getting crotchety in my old age, having done a few of these in the past, afterall there were several new bloggers amongst the dwindling old guard.

This Post was written by Andrew from spitty etc


Cate said...

Rules are rules. I think it's simple as that. I did a contest a few months back on my site and got something like 23 votes for a winning photo AFTER the publicized deadline. They, of course, didn't count. No point in having rules if they can be stretched, you know. Now, of course, there's always extenuating circumstances, and that probably at the host's discretion. Hope this helps. Bottom line, I'm with you.

Sam said...

I think it's up to you Andrew.

There are always going to be people who are late. There will always be people who don't follow the rules to a tee. It's not malicious, its just thoughtlesness. It's entirely up to you whether you include them or not.

Personally, I think stragglers are fine until the roundup goes up. I ampretty easy going until that point. The sooner you do the roundup, the less stragglers will make it.

Erhmm, aside: I remember someone not so long ago having a go at me cos I hadnt included them in a SHF round up. Despite the fact they hadn't sent the specified email. I seem them to remember them telling me I should have known from my trackback (even though blogger didnt have trackbacks at the time!) Now I wonder who that would be...? :P

People just dont read instructions carefully, it's a fact. Not until the host an even do they realise the importance of entrants following the instructions.

To join food blog scool I specify clearly that people should put their email address in the main body of their email request to join.

"both the name of your blog and its url AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in the body of the post to"

I even use caps and underline to make the point.
Despite this at least 50% of requesters don't comply. The reason I ask people to do it because it reduces the amount of clicking I have to do to cut and paste their email. It's a repetitive task and I have tendancies towards RSI.

After a year, I realise, it just aint gonna happen. It must be human nature.

But I would add that I didn't appreciate these things properly UNTIL I hosted my first large event. So people probably just dont realise.

Sam said...

ps here is an example of some guidelines I pproduced for one of my events. This seemed to have good results in that nearly 100% followed them quite carefully.

you could also close the comments for the announcement post a few days before the event date to discourage comment entries.

Kalyn Denny said...

Ahh, the teachers dilema, "students" who do not follow instructions. I've taught students and also trained adults in my varied careers, and I can tell you this is a universal, and it won't ever change. It can be a pain when people don't follow "rules". For Weekend Herb Blogging I try to have as few rules as possible. One thing that did drive me crazy for a while was people leaving the links in a comment. Because I'm on Blogger, it would bump my sidebar down every time someone left a long link. (I notice this happens on FBS also when I look at it at work where I am forced to use IE.) I kept reminding and reminding about that and people seem to have gotten the message now.

I think one thing that's important to remember is that no one has all the information that the event host has. They may have seen the event announced on another site and never even bothered to read it at the host site. In general, I try to be as flexible as I can. (OF COURSE I've never had even close to 50 people so it is easier to be flexible.) Anyway, Andrew, and anyone who has ever hosted a large event like that, I am sure people appreciate your efforts.

Andrew said...

I should have thought about closing comments... I do love hositng these things though - the diversity of entries and the reach across the globe and the fact I have bugger all else to do on a Sunday but play with little flags ;-)

Owen said...

Well - I can't be too helpful here since one of the important parts about Paper Chef is in fact that you CAN break almost all the rules - something that is explicitly stated in the rules. On the other hand we do say that if you go much beyond the deadline then a truly creative and entertaining excuse will do you a lot more good than getting mad!

We are also expecting people to do a LOT over a single weekend with no time to prepare in Paper Chef so it doesn't seem right to get all hardnosed about the deadline.

Bottom line - I think the host - the one doing all the work - gets to decide. And if you can't read/follow rules then you have no business getting upset if you get left out.

I once spent a significant amount of time preparing for the BHG best hamburger competition - came up with four recipes, test cooked three times with large groups - selected two winners to enter - wrote them up - and then found after all that that people living in California couldn't enter (because incredibly there are laws against California residents entering contests sponsored by wine companies!!!) I was mad but it was my fault. On the plus side I now have some awesome hamburger recipes.

ZaZa said...

I think it's probably up to the "owner." Owen is quite relaxed with Paper Chef, but others (I don't really do any others, so I don't know who) may be very strict.

I know some of the recurring events, they specify either a comment or an email, and require that you include a tag as well. I think people who participate in more than one may be extrapolating one event's instructions onto another event, when they are different.

As one who is notoriously late for Paper Chef and confused about instructions, I'd advocate leniency, but only up to a point. It sounded like some people were almost a week early, but that shouldn't be a problem, really. If you've already done the roundup, then people can just post their entry and tag it if they want to (I've done that), but shouldn't expect you (or anyone else) to redo the roundup.

Does that seem fair? BTW, I've also taught adults. \;+) Do as I say, not as I do.

ZaZa said...

An afterthought: Being creative folks, I bet a lot of us food bloggers are right-brain types and are just inherently poor with following instructions.

Lex Culinaria said...

Having hosted events, I hear you.

I think my basic theory would be, if accomopdating them is not going to add to the already heavy burden of the hosting work then why not (i.e. someone's a few days late but still gets it in before you do the roundup)? But if their non-compliance means extra work for you (i.e. they "enter" via trackback instead of email) then I wouldn't bother.

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