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"Cheer up, things could be worse"

October 27, 2009

So I cheered up, and things got worse.

This week hasn’t been going great for me so far. I’m kind of feeling like mouse that got squished by an elephant – although after the initial scary moment I’m sure the mouse felt nothing. Ahh… to be so lucky.
Mini re-cap: Got results from a writing contest on Sunday night. I was so shocked by one of the judges super low score I reached out to the fans on Facebook and shared my moment. They made me feel awesome and really helped me to put things into prospective. I’m so glad I did that.
Monday – I finally discuss the contest with my writing buddy who supports my decision to say something about it on the newsgroup that held the contest. I read over my post to her and she agrees it sounds okay so I post it.
Next I’m off to the doctor’s. What I think is going to be a review of some harmless test results of my spinal fluid (after all, I heard from the nurse already that the Lyme’s wasn’t in my brain) turns into a 45 minute discussion of some test results the doctor has never seen before and doesn’t know how to interpret. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that’s the first time I’ve had a neurologist tell me it was out of his scope of experience.
I’m given referrals for two new specialists – a Hematologist and Infectious Disease Specialist – whom will hopeful have a better take on what the test results mean. I really think it’s got to be related to my Lyme’s so I’m not in full panic mode or anything, just more frustrated that I thought the doctor trips were over.
I come home and decide I’m not going to think about it (okay, honestly, I tried to search for info online but everything was medical journals and medical studies and stuff with nothing clear cut, so it was best to ignore it). I went back online to find the post I made in the newsgroup had caused quite a stir!
People were sharing their experiences and some wrote me very nice replies. I was really touched. I thanked everyone and then the conversation degraded from there a bit and some of the comments weren’t as stellar – but maybe 50 or so replies to the initial, or so it seemed, so it was obviously a hot topic.
Eventually, a moderator had to step in and say she felt the topic should be offline and that it was getting personal (and that same moderator emailed me in the a.m. saying the same thing when I was at the doctors, but it went into my spam folder and I found it later that day).
Then the contest coordinator comes on the newsgroup and writes a really defensive post scolding us all. She really did work her butt off on the contest and perhaps she took my initial complaint about a judge not being allowed to give such low scores as a personal attack – but since no names were mentioned and I have no idea who the judge was – I’m not sure if that was the case.
Either way – the entire thread was deleted and no one is allowed to talk about it. Um, okay. That seemed weird.
Turns out there’s a major liability issue with talking about contests on a private newsgroup. People have sued contests in the past if they think there is even a hint of impropriety going on. Word may get out or agents/editors in the newsgroup could see and then reputations ruined – it’s apparently a really big deal and I had no idea until another member reached out and explained it to me all in a private email post.
I honestly thought that a harsh judge who ranked a professional writer like a grade school student should be talked about. I felt having insulting scores like that go out to entrants said something really bad about the caliber of judges and the professionalism of the contest. Would a young inexperienced writer be crushed by a score like that? Maybe. Me? No 😉
Does it bode well for the people who held the contest that less entries will trickle in next year if those writers talk to their friends about an overly harsh judge? And trust me, I wasn’t the only one who got a score below 60 (out of 150 points). Who knows what next year will bring. I felt strongly about the topic which was why I brought it up to begin with.
By the end of Monday, I’m now worrying that my name must be mud on the group and I’m afraid to even show my face. I got some really supportive emails offline and felt like others did agree with me and that it was good that I brought it up. At this point I’m feeling better, but still worried that perhaps I shouldn’t post anything for a while.
Tuesday – I go back to the group today to read some updates and see a post from a member referring to the hoopla of yesterday. My guilt blossoms. Maybe I should apologize for my ignorance in bringing up such a potentially liable topic.
Well guess what? I tried. I have been banned from posting on the group.
Are you as shocked as I am? I’m not sure what exactly prompted it (obviously, we all know it was the topic, but other than that I’m not sure). I’m not sure if the ban is temporary or permanent. Was it done yesterday so I wouldn’t post any flaming topics and make matters worse or today after a level headed agreement that I was a trouble maker?
I don’t know because I wasn’t even informed of this disciplinary action. Which I think is highly un-professional. But what I think doesn’t really matter as whomever banned me has so blatantly pointed out.
I’m sure you can all guess how I’m going to react to this, right?
I’m done. No matter if the ban to post is temporary or permanent, no matter if I’m a paid member or not. An angry moderator or board member decided I needed a little smack down and I sure as hell won’t thank them for it and kiss ass to get back in.
Ahh… things will look up next week, I know it. With three doctor appointments and the start of National Novel Writing Month to bring my second book The Hunt into being, how can they not?
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