Alright, I’ve read the thread a couple of times now, and it’s time to post, I guess. I have to point out that, in order to get my point across, I’m going to have to be brutally honest here, and if this post does merit me downvotes, I’ll take the downvotes that I deserve.
Now, my understanding is pretty simple: as an April Fools joke, the staff members (and the mods, who seem to have been in on the joke as well) decided to administer this contest for the userbase with the concept of “memes that spread without/before the Internet” in mind. Now, as an added incentive, the staff decided to announce that they are going to be handing out a couple of prizes for those who participate based on the number of entries they submit (and, to a lesser extent, the content of the entries themselves), among those prizes things like a custom title and a badge to go along with the real life prizes.
Although it seems as though the staff is currently looking into an alternative way to reward the non-American members who contribute, I can understand RandomMan’s irritation about being snubbed by these limitations again; being that KnowYourMeme is a website based in the US, and Cheezburger is an American media outlet and organization. Of course, on the other hand, I don’t think that it’s “discrimination” against those that participating that don’t live in the US, because overseas shipping is really freaking expensive and the staff couldn’t have been too keen on those expenses. Nonetheless, I can see how that would hurt.
Anyways, about the entries themselves, I’m more or less in agreement with the guidelines and possible criteria for entries posted by Twilitlord. The points he brings up about plagiarism (the most obvious of them all, yet apparently not to those who copypasted from Wikipedia), following the legitimate restrictions imposed for a reason, and making articles about things that are legitimate real-life memes (religion is a good example). I consider it to be shameless gaming of the system to try to slip around the first two (copypasting from Wikipedia and, in at least one case, getting around the 15-minute time limit on entries by mashing the back button again and again), and I don’t agree at all with the “forum person” argument. “Forum person” or not, you should be able to follow these simple guidelines of common sense, and because of this, I’d go as far as to say that it’s a flat-out insult to the forum community here to suggest that because they use the forums more than they frequent other parts of the site, they must not have any idea how to craft something of a proper entry, whether or not it’s a legitimate Internet meme or for some silly April Fools prank. “I’m a forum person” is not a fair excuse: it’s a lame attempt to earn some leeway from the staff so that all of your otherwise illegitimate entries would have a shot at being accepted. Frankly, it annoys me that you would even suggest that, let alone try to use it as an argument.
I did go back to look at a few of the entries submitted by a couple of users participating here, and many of the entries are frustratingly shameless; be they a short about section copied directly from Wikipedia and a single sentence for the “Spread”, three or four sentences and a bunch of pictures, or a thoroughly subpar submission, even by the standards set for this contest, with “W.I.P.” slapped on the top of the page to pass the entry. It grinds me how many of these entries were created in a floodlike manner, most of them not paying much or all attention to detail and the rules (though not defined in stone, so I guess that I’ll have to give you that) of the contest. I do understand that, as the OP would have it, it’s technically about quantity when it comes to determining who gets what prizes, but how many entries you submitted doesn’t matter if you didn’t at least make an attempt at doing some work to make these entries suitable and considerable. Submitting almost 30 entries in 3 hours doesn’t mean shit if those 30 entries are entirely lacking in what they need.
Furthermore, the question of “why does a user that submits 20 loads of crap get a better prize than a user who works hard to submit 5 well-done entries?” is an entirely legitimate one. Had I wanted to participate in this contest, I could have easily submitted 20 blank entries in about four minutes by getting around the time limit, then gone back and copypasted a few sentences from Wikipedia for the “About,” typed in something like “It’s known all over the world” for the “Spread” section, and if I felt like it, add in a few pictures and maybe an external reference, and be done with that. Custom title and badge coming my way, easy. Or I could have spent hours on each entry, trying to carefully refine it and add acceptable content and wording to it, explain its notability and add in enough references to prove my topic’s legitimacy, and add pictures as is suitable. If I did this, it’s likely that I’d have completed five entries at most. On top of this, nobody that participated in this contest is a machine; you all have other things to do. You’d have to be beyond mod/staff member level in terms of skill at entry writing and research to create twenty entries like this in only a couple of hours. Yet, despite all the hard work that the user who could only create five entries at most did, they would get less than the user that submitted 20 bad entries in a heartbeat. I’m sorry if it took you nine hours or more to get all your work done on the entries that you did submit, but if you submitted at least 20 entries, chances are that more than a few of them won’t be up to the standard. I understand that if you wanted to get 20 entries in, you’d have to rush them, but my point still stands.
As for the actual motivation to write these entries, this is the part that I actually found sort of sickening: the motivation for these submissions. I’ll start by saying that I resent the idea that those who scrambled to get in as many entries as possible intending to earn a custom title deserve a custom title just for being on the forums.
(Not trying to pick on Ann here, but I need to use this as an example)
Ann Hiro wrote:
I also won’t pass up a chance to earn a title. I’ve been trying to earn one for three years. Trying to earn it for being on the forums somehow.
This is the kind of attitude that I don’t like, because you don’t deserve anything here for “being on the forums somehow.” This is because the forums (with the exception of Meme Research) are unrelated and tertiary to the site and its mission. The same argument can be applied to the hordes of “+1” commenters, but that isn’t what is important here. Posting a bunch in JFF isn’t going to get you a custom title, neither is being consistently active around here for 3 years (a rather belated congratulations on that, by the way). Sure, the forums and the community around here are swell. But if you’re a part of the community and posting here with the idea of entitlement over others in mind, then you aren’t posting with the right idea and mindset behind it.
I’ll be as blunt as I can: contributing to the community itself doesn’t make you any more useful to the mission of the site than anybody else who does the same thing, and age of account is no reason for elitism and ideas of privileges like a special title from the staff. The reason that people who frequent the forums, and the forums alone, didn’t get mentions in the Thanks Awards (other than Verbose, at least) is not that the forum frequenters are “neglected” by the staff and mods. it is that the “forum people” simply aren’t as helpful to the mission as those that do entry research and contribute tons of media, or even the select few “forum people” that spend a lot of time helping to better the site and use the forums as a means of communication (Katie’s efforts are a good example), and therefore are not first in line for privileges and thanks from the staff and mods. That’s just the way that it is.
The bait might have been hard to resist, but the reason that it was hard to resist is what doesn’t sit well with me.
I could go on in greater length, but I think that this should suffice. I’ve made my point.
So, yeah, obviously I’m sort of irritated right now. I’m sorry if this post contained more spite than it should have, but how people were going about this contest (even if it was a joke) frustrated me.