Martha Graham once said “No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
I have always believed that to be true. Amongst other things, this quote is saying that we, as artists, maintain a constant struggle within ourselves. Whether it be due to insecurity, or simply a neverending quest for perfection, we want to earn satisfaction from ourselves just as much as we want to satisfy others. This has certainly been the case with the artists I’ve known and grew up with. So it pains me when I see artists discredit and disrespect themselves and their work by gaining recognition using impure methods. In fact, it downright sickens me. This alone is the reason I take issue with what happened throughout the voting of this contest and why I’ve had to do some serious thinking about how to handle it. The following is my conclusion.
The voting system I used for the Good & Evil Cover Art Contest was made by PollDaddy, which is now owned and operated by the same people who make WordPress. Seemingly, this was a very reputable way to go when deciding on software to use for this contest. I set it to send a cookie and capture the IP address of each voter so they could only be allowed to vote once from a single computer. On day 1 or 2 I noticed people were using proxy services to change their IP and vote multiple times. I sent a warning and also added a command to attempt to block access to the site from any proxy services. I didn’t see any more proxy services sending people to the site. Yet, the top two contestants’ votes continued to rise at an alarming rate.
Now, I know I, personally, was only allowed to vote one time. But I was told by at least one trusted source that the system never stopped them from voting more than once. And because I never stated in the rules that you can only vote once, it’s reasonable (although unlikely) to assume there were people who were voting multiple times and didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be able to. Meanwhile, there were people the system surely blocked from voting multiple times. So ladies & gentlemen, we are presented with an issue of fairness and the bottom line is: I don’t know who was cheating, who wasn’t, or who was doing it intentionally — or not.
Despite not knowing what else I could have done to make this a more even playing field, I take full responsibility in the fact that it wasn’t.
So I will award the winner as promised — and the other finalists in the contest will all receive a consolation prize of a Tally Hall sticker and a Tally Hall tattoo. And next time HITS holds a contest, you can bet the voting process will certainly be changed.
The winner of the Good & Evil Cover Art Contest is ANTHONY P.!