My views on the way the Writing Competition has evolved.
Monday, August 17, 2009 8:32:19 AM
Please all readers,
THIS IS NOT A FUNNY POST—SO GET YOUR LAUGHS ELSEWHERE
Over the past few days, I, and indeed a lot of people on My Opera, have burnt the midnight oil in compiling some excellent and some shockingly stupid posts to enter the Opera Writing Internship Competition.
I don't see myself in either group—that is for my readers to decide—but I'd like to give examples of both styles—polished and downright pedestrian—taken from posts entered into this competition.
"As fast as waves hit the harbor, it (Opera) loads my favorite pages."
Quite accomplished, I must say. It is befitting that this quote belongs to the article topping the scoreboard.
Now sample these picks from another article (yes, they all come from just one!):
"Technology is a purposeful human activity involving designing and productions (products??) like, foods, machines, electronic devices and computer systems."
"It is now possible to deliver training to (a??) widely dispersed audience..."
"Technological advances have extended into (the??) realm of living, (for??) example, genetically engineered strains of "improved" plants and animals, nuclear power..."
"Engineering technologies like information technology (IT) challenges (challenge??) the process of teching (teaching?? JESUS!!) and learning. Rapid communication, plus increased access to IT in home, at work, and in education make learning (a??) lifelong activity."
"It's also available in other embedded systems like Nintendo's, (Why the comma, Mr. Shakespeare?) Wii video game console..."
To be honest with you, I have lost count of the many more grammatical errors I spotted in this "article". You wouldn't bet on such a tragedy to get anything more than one or two votes, right? Wrong. This entry, "INNOVATIONS IN TECHNOLOGY." (Gosh, can a title be any more insipid? I mean, it even has a full-stop!) by chillaxzino is the second most popular article on the scoreboard, with as many as 48 votes at the time of writing!! I wouldn't be surprised if it'll overtake Cristina's excellent article on the scoreboard in a matter of hours.
To unravel the mystery building in your mind, I would like to point towards a subtle, yet important contest-variable which seems to be an unmentionable, yet fully obvious secret among participants. Take a look at http://my.opera.com/chillaxzino/friends/ which is a list of chillaxzino's buddies. Guess what? I counted a not-so-frugal 124!
To count the number of voters among them would be a very sad waste of my time, yet I leave it to you guys to research further. Greg, got time for another noble endeavour? (And yes Gyrobo, I do prefer British "archaic" English).
In the midst of my all too apparent anger, I would like to suggest a solution to this mess to Opera. For the next round, please chalk-out the selection criteria in black-and-white for the public rather than continue the present system in which you can equally choose just five or even all of the participants to qualify for the next round. Moreover, please grant only a minor percentage (say 30%) of selection power to the not-so-qualified public. The remaining power should lie with eminent personalities from the tech-sector. Surely, a respected company like Opera Software, which counts legends like Håkon Wium Lie and Jon Hicks (who designed the Firefox logo) among its employees, can do better.
I know that this rant wouldn't have gone down well with many of my readers, and in all probability, I'll lose a few friends and "fans" of my competition entry. Quite frankly though, I DON'T GIVE A DAMN anymore.
Finally, a little confession. I was very much a part of this 24/7-advertising and salaciously sycophantic cult of writers, but I have had a radical change of heart as is made very obvious by my choice of words.
I call on all readers and fellow contestants to come forward and speak against this screwed selection procedure which pushes back deserving authors (and there is no dearth of them even among the present aspirants) while promoting those whose only qualification seems to be good networking skills.
There—I got it out of my system. Now I can have a good night's sleep again.