Judging Opportunity

  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    2 minutes ago, updated 1 second ago

    The current term of the judges ends this month (two weeks left). We need five fresh sets of eyes & hearts to choose the front page winners and Honorable Mentions for March through June.

    If you would like to be a part of this popular project PM a mod.

    You can PM any mod or the mod account: http://www.poems-and-quotes.com/poets/15021
    Jane: http://www.poems-and-quotes.com/poets/235187
    Larry: http://www.poems-and-quotes.com/poets/343827
    MA: http://www.poems-and-quotes.com/poets/327936
    Meena: http://www.poems-and-quotes.com/poets/372677
    Mark: http://www.poems-and-quotes.com/poets/503695

  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    One volunteer is in, four to go

  • Milly Hayward
    9 months ago

    Larry just a quick question someone asked me... Can anyone put themselves forward to be judges or do you have to have reached nominator status?

  • CJ Maleney replied to Milly Hayward
    9 months ago

    Anyone can put themselves forward and senior member status isn't required



  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago


    Two judges are in, three to go

  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    Three judges volunteered
    Two to go

  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    Here is the letter that goes out to new judges:

    [new judge], here's the official judging letter:

    Thanks for Volunteering!

    You've been made an Expert, which has given you a new power that you might not understand just yet - but you will. This is an explanatory "how-to" message made especially for you (and every other judge in your shoes).

    Please read through this (I know it's a lot, sorry!) and message back if you have any questions.

    1. General Judging Guidelines

    -KEEP YOUR JUDGING SECRET. This helps us protect the integrity of the contest.

    -Throughout the week, read through the poems that have been nominated for the contest. These can be found under the "Contest Nominations" link on the drop-down menu under your name. You may or may not wish to keep a tally of your top choices. Just make sure you have read all the poems before voting. The "already read" color change helps with this process.

    -When the time comes, you can vote for any poems (with limits shown at 3 below) that show up on the nominations page, regardless of date. IMPORTANT: You Cannot 'Undo' a Vote Once Cast. Be careful not to vote until you are ready.*

    -Pick your top 3 poems, and rank them from favorite to least favorite OF THE THREE.

    -On Saturday, assign points by clicking one of the new "vote" buttons that you will see under the poem. You will see buttons for 10, 7 and 4 points. Give 10 to what you feel is the best poem of the three you selected, etc. You will get a message: "Your xx vote has been added"
    REMEMBER: You cannot 'undo' a vote once cast. Be careful not to vote until you are ready.*

    CAUTION: While scrolling through a nominated poem on a cell phone it is easy to accidentally touch a 'point' link, thereby casting an unintended vote, which also cannot be undone.*

    -After voting, draft a comment for each of the 3 poems that you picked, and send them in a Private Message (PM) to the Mod Account @


    [Poem Title] by [author] Points: x
    Comment text.

    All comments should be in this format to prevent members from recognizing a particular format and deciding who is the judge. Also, CHECK YOUR SPELLING.

    *If you accidentally cast a wrong vote, you should immediately PM the mod account to let us know. We can compensate for errors by adding a vote where it should have gone. It gets tricky and sometimes it takes more than one mod, so please let us know early, even if you have not yet sent in your comments.

    You should know that the mods rotate hosting the contest so that a different person is doing it each week. SEND EVERYTHING TO THE MOD ACCOUNT, PLEASE.

    2. Deadlines and Important Stuff to Know

    -Votes should be in by Saturday night, P&Q time. Do Not Vote Before Saturday, unless you have particular circumstances and alert the Mod Account as early as possible.

    -If votes are not submitted by Saturday, a mod may panic and start emailing you, if you still don’t vote, the mod will likely go berserk and ask a substitute judge to vote.

    -If you cannot comment one week, do not vote either. Let a moderator know as early as possible and someone will cover for you. If you wait until Sunday to notify the Mod Account, you will possibly be demoted and replaced as a judge.

    -If you cannot comment for three or more weeks during your judge term, you may be demoted and replaced as a judge.

    -If you ask a mod to place a vote for you, it counts as one of your three votes. You may not use your leftover vote on an additional poem.


    3. Poems that should not be voted on:
    - Your own poem (including one on which you collaborated, or from your alternate account)
    - Collaborated poems IF nominated by one of the collaborators (including Club collabs)
    - Two or more of the same poem (as in the case of collaborations).
    - Poems from the explicit section (that require 18 and over viewers).
    - Poems that plagiarize other poems (please notify any mod or report plagiarism anytime you run across it)
    - Self-harm poems (but see section 4)

    4. Regarding Self-harm poems:

    -Though Janis did not wish to see poems of this type on the front page, we have determined that they ought to be allowed in special circumstances. However, they should ONLY be voted on in cases where the poems showcase true literary merit; specifically DO NOT Vote for a Poem Which in Any Way Glorifies Self-harm or Harm to Others. For example, poems describing the release of blood and the comfort found therein should be avoided. Poems describing the joy of OVERCOMING the urge to harm are legitimate candidates for voting. That leaves a lot in the grey area; use your best judgment or ask for guidance if needed.

    Thank you so much! This contest would be impossible without you.

    -All the Mods

  • Hellon
    9 months ago

    Do the mods actually moderate the judges' choices to make sure friends are not favoured over good poetry?

  • silvershoes replied to Hellon
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    How would we determine that the judge is voting because of friendship and not because of quality of their friend’s poetry? How do we determine who judges’ friends are? We can guess, but that’s not something we can know unless we ask every judge to name everyone they consider their friend on PnQ, and hope they’re telling the truth. I suppose if the moderators felt someone voted for who appeared to be friend every week and we agreed universally that the poems were not front-page worthy, we might make a comment to the judge, but it is open to so much subjectivity that I can’t state this as certainty.
    We approach this concern by having a random sample of judges to pull from each term, and term limits. Of course this hasn’t been entirely possible since finding volunteers has become like pulling teeth ha.

  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    Since at least 2011 when I began as a mod the issues surrounding judging have recurred regularly.
    Are judges voting for the best poem of their opinion or are they skewed toward friends?
    Are too few poets getting recognition or is there an open door for everyone?
    Should the best poems be allowed to win or should an artificial cap be imposed?
    Should we allow more than 5 judges? Should the mods do it alone? Should it be a popularity vote?

    At the least these discussions open up people’s awareness and perhaps if we continue to question we will get closer to a fully impartial experience.

  • Hellon replied to Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    Actually Larry...just to set the record straight from the comment you made in the other thread...I have never been a judge. I have been a sub judge on a couple of occasions when asked to break a tie but never long term. I do not agree with the anonymous rule the site has in place where judging is concerned and can't really see the benefit of it, I mean, I could probably guess at least three of the judges you have now just on the pattern of nominations and wins this term. I have offered my services as being an up-front judge on a couple of occasions but that was not acceptable to the mods. I actually think it would improve, or at least make it more open for everyone to see what was going on, if the judges were known to everyone.

  • silvershoes
    9 months ago

    Whoa, I thought you were a judge at one point as well, but stepped down mid term? No, just a sub judge?

    The rule that judges remain anonymous during their terms was another site-wide majority decision. The thought behind it was that anonymity would prevent judges from conspiring together to get poems to the front page. It would also prevent members from "sucking up" to judges in the hopes of winning their favor.

    If removing the anonymity rule would encourage more members to judge, I'm all for it.

  • Hellon replied to silvershoes
    9 months ago

    Nope...I've never been a judge. I remember Sibs (yes, way back then) asking me to break a tie and only one other time that I remember...I have never been a long term judge.

    I do remember 'the judges forum' where three judges could go and discuss the winners each week and, yes, I do remember the scandal caused when someone hacked into the thread and discovered what was really going on in there...I even managed to read most of the input myself before the whole thread was removed. So...without a doubt there was a huge amount of conferring going on back then but...it was still anonymous to other members so we did not know about it before that. If the five judges were known to everyone then, observant members could see if a favouritism pattern was evident (we can't at the moment, there is a gab between nominations which we can see and, judges votes which only the mods can) then something could be done about it...at the moment, I personally feel it's prevalent...I just can't prove it.

  • Milly Hayward
    9 months ago

    I wonder if the likes facility should be changed from being anonymous to being visible because why would you want to hide your identity when just liking a poem?

  • Kitty Cat Lady
    9 months ago

    Given that any way done now or previously upsets people, and suggestions aren't considered or create too much work, or can't be actioned because of the missing mysterious Janis ... why not try suspending the weekly competition for a bit?

    How would the site be if it was merely posting poems for poetry's sake I wonder? Do there need to be 'winners' each week?
    Do we only enjoy this site because we want to know who 5 anonymous judges feel is the best poetry each week?

    Each individual has their own ideas on what the best poems were each week, so people either agree with the judges choices or they don't. It seems to cause an awful lot of strife!

    We can still like and comment on the pieces we like but with no agenda maybe? Just a thought.

  • silvershoes replied to Kitty Cat Lady
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    "I wonder if the likes facility should be changed from being anonymous to being visible because why would you want to hide your identity when just liking a poem?"

    Not a bad idea, but cannot be implemented without Janis, the site admin.

    "Given that any way done now or previously upsets people, and suggestions aren't considered or create too much work, or can't be actioned because of the missing mysterious Janis ... why not try suspending the weekly competition for a bit?"

    We cannot suspend the weekly competition. We can't make direct changes to the site without the site admin. What would happen if no one voted is the site would randomly select poems to grace the front page each week.

    These are all things to keep in mind as potential changes when and if Janis ever comes back, but we are unable to make any of these changes without him.

    Potential changes we *can* make without Janis: Judge term length. Number of judges. Qualifications to judge. Whether judges are anonymous or not during their service. Whether or not there are guidelines for what poems can be voted on by judges. Whether or not we have limits on how many times a person can make the front page. Whether or not judges should attach comments to their votes.

    Term length: 4 months
    Number of judges: 5
    Qualifications: None (used to require senior status, but we have a shortage of volunteers)
    Anonymity: Yes, during term, then judges can reveal themselves if they want
    Guidelines: None except simple things like restrictions on self-harm poetry and no explicit poetry
    Limits: None, people can not only make the front page indefinitely, but they can make the front page up to 3 times in one week
    Comments w/ votes: Highly encouraged

    Edit: Currently, there are only a few members expressing discontent (and a couple members private messaging us requesting that NO changes be made). None of you seem to agree on what changes you would like, so how about this? Suggestions that are feasible, regardless of their difficulty, should be posted here. I will then compile them and word them in a way that we can further discuss. When we've honed them down, we can send out a mass PM requesting that members vote on potential changes publicly or via private message, and we can go from there! Maybe I should send out a mass PM now so that members know we're discussing this topic and can chime in :)

  • Milly Hayward replied to silvershoes
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    Jane, Thank you for you post it was really helpful. You say that if no judging is done that the system randomly will put poems on the front page? If its causing discontent between people why don't we just let the system randomly pick poems to put on the front page?

    That would release the pressure on the Mods and Judges each week and give more people the opportunity to see their poems featured each week.
    People could then just concentrate on the reading and writing of poetry without all this competiveness and it be a pleasant surprise if your poem comes up on the front page. :) Best wishes Milly x

  • silvershoes replied to Milly Hayward
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    Interesting idea. I think it would be funny to try! It tickles me hehe. I'll throw the idea onto the list.

    1) Eliminate judges and let the site choose front page winners each week.

  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    current term is 4 months, not 3

    Regarding letting site randomly pick poems:
    - It would still pick poems at random from those nominated.
    - Even if we told everyone to stop nominating, somebody would.
    - If none were nominated it would pick poems as often or not that are abysmal and that is what would be published to the 125,ooo plus subscribers
    - Since the most consistent tie breaker has been the poet who has received the fewest wins, the likelihood is that poems no one considers would be chosen - embarrassing

  • silvershoes replied to Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    Thank you! Editing my post now.

    Larry, you bring up many excellent points.

  • Em (marmite)
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago


  • Milly Hayward
    9 months ago

    When the debate for change to the current judging system was raised I had naively hoped that there would be some simple idea that would make everyone happy and would help take some of the pressure off of the Moderators. What this thread has proved instead is that this is a debate that has raged for years and that there simply is no easy fix that is going to satisfy everyone.

    What has become apparent is the restrictions and difficulties faced in running such an intricate weekly competition and a conclusion which the moderators have seen reoccurring many times... that you can never please everyone and if it works for the majority don't try and fix it lol.

    We are all part of this lovely community that is p&q and for many it gives a feeling of belonging. A place to read and write poetry and to share thoughts with other like minded creative minds. It is the place it is today because of the support of its members in writing and sharing those thoughts and what p&Q really needs right now is for more people to volunteer to be judges.

    Being a judge is not only a personally rewarding experience but it also helps hone your own poetry skills. It helps you to appreciate poetry styles that you might not ordinarily read and you learn to recognise qualities and nuances that you probably didn't notice before.

    I can say in all honesty that after my experience of being a judge I definitely saw a marked improvement in the quality of my writing and also found I had gained a better appreciation of poetry than I had before.

    Best wishes Milly x

  • Poet on the Piano
    9 months ago

    While letting the site randomly choose winners might be wildly and ridiculously entertaining at first, I think that some people would get tired of doing nothing and want to nominate. So until Janis gets back and we either suspend the content or create something else, I say make do with what we have and have the responsibly be on us to nominate diverse poems and try to find hidden gems if we have time.

    I could see the potential in revealing who "likes" a poem so it is not hidden, but moreso, I see the futility of "likes" in the long run. Then, wouldn't it be more akin to Facebook, tracking likes?

    Judges giving up their anonymity might ne something to talk about, if enough members feel it will be more honest and forthcoming. It would also be easier to point out bias, but it must also be taken into consideration how these judges would be received. If someone accuses a judge of bias, but that judge is just set on a certain style, would we get anywhere accusing the judge? As far as recognizing the judge based on the comment and any other patterns.... again, we work with what we're given. We try to switch things up but reality is, it's hard to find judges. I'm not sure how many members can make assumptions but it could also depend how much they are on here to analyze that. All food for thought. Please share any insights you have.

  • naaz
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    I have a suggestion to this judging poem issues. Actually, it's not me, it's my brother when I told him everything which was going on, he came up with this idea. I don't know it is implementable or not but this idea can end this debate and remove a lot of burden from judges and moderators head.

    The idea is very simple just make 6 front page winners instead of 3.

    3 popular choices contest winners

    Many people on this site are saying that a winner should be select on the basis of most likes and comments. Let them have it for few weeks. But there will be certain conditions for these winners...

    1. They won't get any comment from the judges as they will get selected by the audience. There is no need for judges to give their comments on those poems because audience have already given their comment on their poems.

    2. Once a poem of a certain poet select for popular choice winner. All the other poems written by him will not be consider anymore in the nomination list. All of his /her other poems written in different formats will be out of race for the contest winners because they were already chosen winners by audience.

    3. There will be three different poets select on the basis of likes and comments.
    Suppose 4 poems of mine in the nomination list all of them has more likes and comments then other poets. In that scenario, only one poem of mine with more likes will select for the front page and rest will be out of race from the nomination. Then the second popular choice winner will be chosen with the same procedure and same goes with the third winner.

    4. There will be no HM for popular choice. HM will always be reserved for judges or critics choice winners.

    Once the nomination closed we will have our popular choice contest winners on the basis of likes and comments and all the other poems written by them will be removed from the nomination list by moderators.

    By Applying the option no. 2 more than half of the poems will be removed from the nomination list. And then judges or critics will have to choose 3 front page for...

    3 critics choice contest winners

    The critics choice winners will get the honor of getting precious comments from our wonderful judges.
    And from the rest of the poets left out. Few of them will get HM with wonderful comments working for them as a motivation.

    This battle of discussions will be over once and for all. No one will question anything. Those who are on the side of popular culture voting system will get the popular winners and those who are on the side of the current voting system will get their winners too.

    If mods think it's a good idea, and if it's possible, try it for a month. We won't find any debate regarding judges decisions and all that in the future.

  • Kitty Cat Lady replied to naaz
    9 months ago

    It's a good idea Naaz ... similar to the one Milly put forward about adding the poem with the most likes alongside the judges choices.

    I'm just wondering how it work on a practical level ... before the judges could award points and write comments for their three top choices, they would first have to work out the 3 most popular poems, then discount those and any other poems written by the same poets ... that could be time consuming and could only be done at the point of lockdown on a Saturday, leaving less time for comment writing? Maybe another volunteer could do that bit?


  • naaz replied to Kitty Cat Lady
    9 months ago

    Give our judges more time, Close the nomination one day before, if it's possible. Right now these are just suggestions.

  • Larry Chamberlin
    9 months ago

    We still need one (1) more judge

  • silvershoes
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    Scratch that... we need TWO more volunteers. If we do not have 2 more volunteers and it is expected that 5 people judge, then 2 moderators will need sub judge every week for the next 4 months. I'm not sure how judging has become yet another moderator job, but this is bad, guys. Please help us! Thank you so much to those who have already volunteered.

  • silvershoes replied to naaz
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago

    Hi Naz,

    I like the idea of 3 popular choice winners and 3 critics choice winners. However, we cannot change/increase the number of winners on the front page without Janis. We also cannot change when the weekly nominations close.

    Potential changes we *can* make without Janis:
    -Judge term length.
    -Number of judges.
    -Qualifications to judge.
    -Whether judges are anonymous or not during their service.
    -Whether or not there are guidelines for what poems can be voted on by judges.
    -Whether or not we have limits on how many times a person can make the front page.
    -Whether or not judges should attach comments to their votes.

    If another mod can think of more potential changes, please edit my post and add them.

  • silvershoes
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago by PnQ Mod Account

    Third post in a row, forgive me, but 4 judges are in! Thank you to our fabulous members who have volunteered! We need one more judge :)

    EDIT: The one change that people seem to agree upon, taking into account PMs received by the mods, is for shorter terms for judges.
    The last time we tried this we were in constant recruiting mode, but where’re going to give it another go. Starting this week end the judging term will last two (2) months.
    So for the four judges we have on board, your term will be from this weekend through 30 April.
    If anyone would like to volunteer for the 5th position, you need only commit to two months.

  • PnQ Mod Account
    9 months ago, updated 9 months ago



  • silvershoes
    9 months ago

    5 judges in -- Woohoooo!!!! Thank you to the 5 who volunteered. Remember, we've reduced the term to 2 months. It'll be over in a flash ;)

    For those willing to judge the the next term (May-June), sign ups begin now! Please PM a mod if you are interested and we'll remind you closer to when your term begins.

  • Ya----Na
    9 months ago

    I believe it's not only the moderators who should thank the judges for this tough job, but all of us should. My sincere thanks to all those five persons who volunteered themselves for the judges position. For giving a portion of their time, their lives to read and comment on our work.

  • silvershoes
    9 months ago

    I agree! They deserve all of our thanks.

  • Tony replied to silvershoes
    8 months ago, updated 8 months ago

    *meant as a new post, not a reply.

    I can understand how receiving recognition for one's work through a "win" would be validating; I feel much more validated when I receive a heartfelt comment or a PM saying that my writing helped or touched someone.

    To be perfectly honest, I would do away with the contest entirely. A "win" to me implies that one poem was better than another, when the contest is subjective; and subjective to the whims of those with nominator status, who all have their own tastes and preferences when it comes to poetry. As for the judges, they get to vote on the picks of the nominators, and may or may not even like any of the poems that were nominated that week! I guess it just doesn't make sense to me.

    Other than being flattering on occasion, I don't care one way or another if I am nominated, or I win. That's not why I write.

  • Jamie replied to Tony
    8 months ago, updated 8 months ago

    I second this

  • Ben Pickard
    8 months ago, updated 8 months ago

    I third it. As lovely as the competition is, I think it ushers in a real danger of clouding the point of poetry to begin with. I don't necessarily think it should be done away with, but perhaps taken a little less seriously - and that includes our often aggressive stance towards judges who I am sure are doing their best. As Tony says, poetry like any art is purely subjective and if we all remember that and accept it, then how can there be any room for criticism in regards to the choices each week? I think it should just be enjoyed for what it is, and if we can't all take it in good spirit, we are all better off without it, in my opinion.

  • Larry Chamberlin
    8 months ago, updated 8 months ago

    As Hellon has discovered, the way to opt out of the contest is to post poems on Saturday after 9:00 am New York Time.

  • Jamie
    8 months ago

    Or people who have nomination status, could stop voting, which honestly won't happen.

  • Larry Chamberlin
    8 months ago

    You’re right, Jamie. But perhaps they do not agree with you and wish to continue the contest. In that case your option is to post your poems in a time they cannot be nominated.