Second point I want to make is that everyone used different strategies in this contest; some people might have spent more time/energy/money on their actual cake, while others might have spent more time/energy/money on trying to get votes, whether real or fake ones. It's nice when someone is rewarded for their effort (or for cheating), we love it, we stand up and applaud and pat them on the back, but we all know that in a real contest that doesn't always happen. Sometimes others things like more creativity or more talent or more popularity, tip the scales in another person's favor, despite all your hard work and effort. Any contest you enter... you enter at your own risk. You may put in hours or days of hard work and end up with nothing. Is that fair? I say all's fair in love and cake decorating.
Despite believing all that ^^ to be true, it made me so happy to see all the cake makers putting so much effort into winning my humble contest, that I couldn't bring myself to let it go unrewarded. So you may not have won the best prize, but you made a nerdy girl from small-town USA feel good, eh? That counts for something. Plus, I think everyone genuinely had fun either making their cake or pimping it out on Facebook, so, win or lose, I'm hoping it was still worth your time and effort.
Third point I want to make is that the cakes that won the secret email vote... we voted for them. From a purely unselfish standpoint, those were the cakes that we-the-cake-makers were rooting for. And we wanted them to win because they depicted some of our favorite scenes in HG, in a creative, funny, and edible way. I believe that should make everyone feel some sense of satisfaction--I was relying on that being the case when I asked for the email re-vote.
Now to Markie, who first taught me about open proxy networks. I assumed it went without saying that the contestants were not allowed to manipulate the poll and cast fake votes for their cake. I guess I should have stated it explicitly, but I thought "send your friends and family over to vote" pretty much said it all. It didn't occur to me that anyone would send robots or even pirates over to vote. I debated over how to handle the situation for awhile, which even included some pacing and some long drives. Part of me (my heart) thought the lack of control was hilarious and I should just let it go. But the bigger part of me (my brain) thought it was my job to stand up for the little cake makers, who worked feverishly on their cake and then sent their 8-12 legit friends and family members over to vote. If I stood back and did nothing:
a) all my future contests would be tainted and people who play fair would never enter another one, rightly so
b) hard feelings would exist between the cake makers
c) the people who won anything with fake votes would feel too guilty to take the prize anyway, and so they'd confess in an email or over the phone, leaving me to unravel the mess they created
d) I would miss an opportunity to create some exciting over-blown drama, and act all important and powerful
I figured, since the cake makers took advantage of my loosely worded instruction and lack of explicitly stated rules, that I also had the right to take liberties when it came to calculating the vote. Did it not go both ways? I assumed it did, since no one explicitly stated otherwise. I decided I would have to void the corrupt poll and come up with another plan right after "60 seconds" took the lead with 222 votes (over 200 of them being fake), and other cakes makers who had computer hacking skills and a competitive spirit started to follow your lead. But I let the voting continue anyway, for dramatic purposes, thinking "60 seconds" would come out with the most votes in the end, and THEN I would turn the tables on him. I didn't see Mockingjay coming, and I could have saved her (aka her friend's pirates) a bit of trouble, but, frankly, I thought she knew me well enough to know that I would not stand by and do nothing, just allow 200+ fake votes on a poll determine the winner.
I know the cake makers who padded their score with fake votes took much delight in outsmarting the other cake makers, and were dying to see the look on the other cake makers' faces. That was part of the fun. Well, I wanted to have a little fun too, and I took much delight in outsmarting the outsmarters. And I'm sure the cake makers who lost the poll vote to those fake votes were going, "The playa just got played. Now what? NOW WHAT?" like a baby mama on Maury who just got some paternity test results. It was a triumphant moment.
I assumed, after that twist, that the poll winners would simply stroke their mustaches, say, "touche," and that would be the end of it.
There I go assuming things again.
I think each of the poll vote winners could make a valid argument as to why the poll vote should have determined the winner. It was a Hunger Games cake contest, after all, and what's more Hunger Games-ish than manipulating and outsmarting the other contestants. I will concede to that point, on the condition that I, too, in the spirit of the Hunger Games, can manipulate and outsmart the contestants right back, by calling for a human-only re-vote.
All that being said, Markie, I am certainly willing to be a sport and reward you for hijacking your way into second place in the poll vote in the "spirit of the Hunger Games." It was a clever move, sending the contest in a whole other direction. This went from being a simple cake decorating contest, to big hysterical mess that lasted for days. So here is your mouse pad, sir.
So poll winners, take your prizes and be proud of them. You put up a good fight, made this whole thing more memorable for us all, and you deserve to come out triumphant in the end. Put away the tums; like I said, all's fair in love and cake decorating. There's no room for guilt in the Hunger Games. It's harshing the game mellow anyway. Now is the time for bragging, clearing that space beside your computer for your new mouse pad, installing a hook in your kitchen for your new apron, or making room on your fridge for your new magnet.
Roll your little mouse on it with pride.
Not to leave the third-place poll winner out in arena with only one magnet, let me just say that two magnets will be arriving for you. BTW, happy birthday.
Until next year, gamers.
This whole thing is extremely nerdy. Right up my alley.