Out of Step?

Funny thing happened on here the other week.

I took part in a prompt I had just come across. I wrote my contribution, linked to the prompter’s post, and thought no more of it.

The prompt had an end date, which I guess makes sense, just so any respondent knows that they’re answering the “current” prompt over one that is a year old.

About a week later, I got a pingback of my own. The prompter had helpfully rounded-up the week’s contributions. That, too, seemed like a good idea – I do like to look at other people’s responses to things so that post made it easy for me. The thing that struck me as strange was that the post also contained an announcement of the week’s winner.

Winner? What do we mean by “winner”? For me, I post for fun, because I enjoy posting something. So if I enjoy writing, and responding, it’s a win. Period. If other people then enjoy reading it, that’s a win-win. “Lost” just doesn’t come into it.

So it made me think of a few things, like how the winner had been judged? Was it just the prompter’s preference? That’s just subjective anyhow – another reader might see things differently, so one person’s opinion has no more value than anyone else’s.

Or, was it by the number of “likes”? But then, surely, well-followed bloggers have an unfair advantage?

Anyway, I don’t say it is wrong, but it made me uncomfortable. The following week, I passed on the prompt. It’s not a big thing, but it just seems that by introducing this competitive element, we’re inviting unnecessary disagreements. What if somebody thinks that their response should have won the week? That sounds laughable, but I’ve seen for myself how zealous people can be with these prompts.

I presume none of us submit responses to prompts in the hope that they will somehow “win”? It puts me right off. Life is competitive enough without it straying into something which should be fun.


      • My wife participates in Writing.com, and they do lots of contests there, with awards of merit badges or discounts on membership renewals. So I’ve been aware of contests for a bit. I’ve read that blogger awards can help build readership, but haven’t tested that yet.

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        • I’m aware of things being badged as awards, I’ve had one or two nominations but ducked them, for all the standard reasons. I’ve never consciously written a post in the hope of winning something. In my experience of prompts, people tend not t read other people’s responses so I doubt an aware would ever have led anybody to my blog.


  1. If I feel like I want to join in with a prompt, I join in – and if I don’t, I don’t, regardless of outcome. But like you I prefer prompts that are purely for fun, for the enjoyment of taking part rather than for any competitive reasons 🙂

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  2. I’ve never heard of such a thing in combination with a PROMPT. It must have been at the writer’s whim to do that, because most prompts (every one I’ve participated in over these seven years) has been a strictly “come write or share a photo or whatever” type thing. And only two bloggers that I know of do a ’round-up”, which merely lists the participants from the relevant time frame..

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    • Yes. I’m hesitant because it might have said something and I didn’t see it properly, but it sounded unusual. I always liked the idea of a roundup, although I try to look at other responses anyway. I’m mindful when getting involved in a prompt that I’m committing to an hour or two of reading at some point – that was one of the reasons I’ve held back on SYW these last few weeks (although I probably follow a dozen respondents anyway).

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  3. I must live a sheltered life as I didn’t know there were prompts where a winner was selected. I’d have the same questions you asked about what criteria are used to select the “winner.”

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    • Somebody did explain to me that this was all just a bit of fun, in the opinion of the host, etc. and that regular respondents knew this. That in itself left me feeling uneasy. It sounded a bit “cliquey” to me.

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      • Yes. I’ve contributed to prompts before and later found that they mentioned a “winner.” On Google Plus that was a huge thing in the different writing groups. I learned to not take things too personally, but I do prefer to write in spaces where everyone’s writing is celebrated. that’s how you find the writing truly worth reading.

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