Art Takes Paris 2013: The Struggle for the People’s Choice Award

Art Takes Paris 2013, See.Me

Art Takes Paris 2013

First, I want to praise See.Me for handling responsibly and with grace the problem I raised to them.

I was more than a little angry yesterday (I was downright furious) when I noticed that the only Art Takes Paris 2013 entry with more votes than mine for the People’s Choice Award, as far as I could see, was using a tactic I’ve come to call ‘vote trading.’ Most of us are familiar with quid pro quo strategies. This one involves voting for someone’s competition entry and immediately asking them to “return the favor” by voting for yours. Google+ and Facebook offer similar opportunities, though few people have good reason to take advantage of them and even fewer have anything real to gain by it.

This particular competitor of mine, to be blunt and make a long story short, had entered objectively mediocre art and seemed to write below a high school level of proficiency. Sure, maybe English was a second language in this case. However, nothing excuses the blatant vote trading that was going on. There was a list of over 200 comments on this page with statements like, “Thanks for the vote! Just returning the favor :)”. This competitor of mine was going around to innumerable profiles, my own included, in order to declare that he had voted for them and that they should do the same for him; after all, each account can vote an unlimited number of times. If he voted for me, it seems fair enough that I vote for him in return, right? /scoff

It’s utterly disingenuous and unethical to engage in such dubious trickery. It has nothing to do with art and nothing to do with ‘the people’s choice.’ I can guarantee that if you polled those who had voted for that profile the majority of them would select “No” to the question of whether or not they believed that art should win the People’s Choice Award and the $10,000 USD that went along with it. Why, then, vote for it? For the exact reason I stated, and the exact reason I complained to See.Me about it, which is vote trading.

In response to my thorough grousing, a See.Me representative informed me that the vote count is not the determining factor in who wins the People’s Choice Award. Instead, the voting simply brings to the surface the set of entrants from whom the jurors will determine the winner. Furthermore, the people of See.Me do what they can to limit the impact of ‘vote trolls,’ as they were described to me.  What a relief! While I don’t feel guilty for having been furious yesterday, I do feel tremendous relief that the reality here is different from my perception.

Kudos to See.Me for tackling this challenge appropriately. I still think it would be better to limit the number of votes each account could cast, perhaps even to one, as long as the vote wasn’t set in stone when it was cast. One could change one’s vote over time if a ‘better’ artist were discovered, but with the understanding that everyone got one vote there would be absolutely no impetus to vote for anyone other than for whomever you believe deserved to win.

I’m still waiting to hear back about the results of the Art Takes Paris 2013 People’s Choice Award, but at least I can rest easy knowing that one entry in particular doesn’t have a chance in hell at winning. It’s not schadenfreude; it feels more like justice.

6 thoughts on “Art Takes Paris 2013: The Struggle for the People’s Choice Award

      • Oh!! And you wrote there the only person with more votes than you… and you had only 181. I have voted so many people with more than 500 votes while I had 3152 in the final count but unfortunately there was a woman with 3884 who used robot votes and made more in 3 days than I did in a month! But yeah I am still hoping for justice… Anyway I wish you good luck and all the best :)

        • Yeah, See.Me is disregarding profiles that utilized vote trading, or at least “minimize their impact,” where vote trading is voting for a profile and asking them to vote for you in return. I have nothing to worry about since I never once posted my profile link on someone else’s profile/comments. Additionally, it seems that the number of votes has no direct impact on whether or not someone is going to get the award, since the jurors will determine the People’s Choice Award selection based on the merits of the work and statement. That’s all I’m concerned about, because that’s the issue of justice. But thanks for the wishes, and I hope your work is well considered.

          • See.Me will not disregard profiles that utilized ‘vote trading’ as you call it, they wouldn’t let that happen in the first place if they planned to do that, and I really do not see the point why are you so angry that people voted each-other, I mean that is called humanity, I returned every vote with pleasure and I think that there is nothing wrong with voting for each other.
            Votes received by real people, whoever they are are just fine, however the fake votes, votes you buy on internet sites with little money, votes you pay people to program a robot that you can turn on and off to vote every 2/3/5 seconds, etc., that is what I am angry about and only for that I wish to see justice. And as for merit, of course it would be awesome to give the Award to e person who deserves it by talent, but there is a reason this is called “People’s Choice Award” because it is chosen by people, but trust me REAL PEOPLE don’t vote crap I am sure of that.
            Anyway, I hope it will turn out good!

          • Here is a quote from the email See.Me sent me:
            “The winner is chosen by the judges and See.Me staff from a group of entries with the top number of votes. Sometimes we choose among the artists with the top 20 number of votes, and sometimes top 50, &etc. depending on the number of entries. The purpose of this is to prevent exactly what you say from happening…While the initial process for the People’s Choice Award is about getting votes, the winner is also chosen [by the judges] for artistic merit, uniqueness, concept, technique – all the things you would want to consider when giving a significant award!” [My italics.]

            So, according to a representative, the vote count does not directly impact the final winner of the People’s Choice Award. The vote count is simply a tool by which the judges and the staff acquire a pool of contestants from which they choose the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

            I’m sure neither of us means to offend the other, but we do seem to be on different sides of a gulf.

            I agree that it seems in a pretty simple fashion that the People’s Choice Award should go to the profile that the people, the voters, like the most and think is the most worthy. I really want to emphasize that phrase, ‘the most’. If I vote for 300 different profiles then there’s something disingenuous going on, disingenuous in that I couldn’t possibly think that all 300 deserve to win the award and the $10,000 prize the most. I understand perhaps finding two profiles between which one can’t decide, or maybe five, possibly even ten; there was a lot of good work in that competition and there will be in the next, and it’s not always a clear choice even when it comes to a personal preference.

            I use the term ‘vote trading’ to refer specifically to the situation in which one person casts a vote in return for someone else’s vote. This holds with the very definition of ‘trading’ (the exchange of one thing for another) but in specific reference to ‘votes’, hence ‘vote trading’. In a hypothetical situation in which every single vote that was cast got a return vote we would find that the person who cast the most votes was also the person who won the competition. That seems antithetical to the entire purpose of a People’s Choice Award, because that person didn’t get the most votes for having what people thought was the best work but rather for the simple reason that he or she actually cast the most votes. It would be like someone becoming the POTUS on the sole basis that he or she cast the most ballots on voting day. And, according to the email the representative sent me, that is the exact reason they do not allow the final vote count to determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

            I’m not, by any means, saying that you are a bad person or immoral for wanting to return a kindness to someone. That sounds perfectly reasonable. In my thinking, however, I find it acceptable to say something like “Thank you for your support!” as opposed to “I voted for you, too!”

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