Mistake in scores in a fashion contest (or how one is exposed to specific problems while coordinating and taking part of an event in SL)
A mistake in scores in the Fashion Showdown 2009 last week showed how singular the organization of an event like that can be in Second Life, with its own problems and challenges, which are quite different from what one would expect in the RL contests that serve as references to it. In an interval of about two days, the public learned the winners and then that a would-be winner did not get the correct scores but it would not change the results, and then that the would-be winner would be considered a winner, and then, again, that nothing would change.
On November 15, 2 hours after the show, it was announced that Lexi Vargas, Tatiana Starside and Inga Wind got the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, respectively, and Inaraserra Jewell would receive a 4th, unplanned prize because her scores were too close to the ones of the winners. In the following day, a notice offering excuses to Thea Tamura surprised the ones who were subscribed to the Fashion Showdown group.
– Click here to see Lexi Varga’s outfit.
– Click here to see Tatiana Starside’s outfit.
– Click here to see Inga Wind’s outfit.
– Click here to see Inaraserra Jewell’s outfit.
– Click here to see Thea Tamura’s outfit.
Juror Kinji Lockjaw acknowledged publically that the scores that she gave to Thea Tamura were wrong and offered her excuses to the contender. Charoa Hammerer, who organized the showdown, announced that she was sorry for what happened but that the results were already made public and the scores received the night before were still to be considered the final ones. A few hours later, juror Deliziosa Vendetta sent another group notice, to inform that she offered Thea Tamura “the right prize of 12K”, which was declined.
“She gave me back money saying she wasn’t here to win money but only to earn a right title, the winner one, if she deserved. She is now in my eyes not only the true and official winner of this contest with 159 votes (the highest score) – official means to give and to receive a right and deserved title and Thea earned it -, but also MORAL winner for her HONESTY”, reads the notice.
The confusion revealed a dispute between the organization of the contest and at least one juror and one designer. Actually, behind the scenes, there were further distresses and accusations. Eventually, Charoa Hammerer announced again that Lexi Vargas was considered the official winner, the group was dismantled and the scores were taken off the internet, where they were being displayed in details until then for the contenders and the public in general.
According to Kinji Lockjaw, she was contacted by Thea Tamura, who, after seeing the scores on the internet, asked about her points.
– With so many outfits, I told her that I may not remember hers specifically but I chose to give high scores to the designs that showed creativity, hard work and attention to detail – said Kinji Lockjaw – So then she sent photos of her designs and once I saw them I knew there was a serious mistake. Out of all the designs in the show it was hers that stuck out the most. […] The other judge, Deliziosa Vendetta, explained to me that outfit #22 and #23 came out in reverse order. […] That’s how Thea got the wrong score.
Charoa Hammerer recognized that the order was different from the one announced in a notecard before the show:
– The program does support Kinji in the order change. Nevertheless we advised judges earlier on that some of the orders had to be changed last minute because we lost models and to go by the name on the scorecard. And i still had no issues from other judges… so Kinji does have a point, but it doesn’t change anything.
Charoa Hammerer argued that she only learned about the mistakes about 24 hours after the results were announced and the prizes were given.
– If I change Kinji’s score for one designer I would have to either change for all or eliminate her scores on a whole. Either way it changes the outcome of the showdown and I am sticking to all scores are final. […] Lexi Vargas is the winner. As I stated in my previous notecard, if we had received the correct scores, Thea would have won, we issued an apology and offered compensation but the scores and placements remain since the scores were final.
Lexi Vargas said he suggested a “diva-off”:
– Why not have four judges that are well vetted so not to know or like either supposed winner? Two guys, two girls and have them do a do over.
Nevertheless, said Lexi, since he did not receive an official answer to his idea, and since it seemed that some people did not like it (backstage IMs and distress, remember?), he decided to remain quiet.
As for Thea Tamura, she stressed that she was not interested in money at all:
– I told Charoa that I renounced money prize… that the wrong winners could keep the money. I didn’t want money given to other (wrong) winners! […] All that I wanted was a right and deserved title.
Whether the policy to deal with the mistake was the correct one or not, the specificities of an SL event played a role in the contest and the misfortunes of its outcome. On the very day of the show, the sim where it was held got packed and many people – including myself, who was a contender – had to stay outside. It was anticipated to some extent and the show was broadcast on the internet. Nonetheless, attendance still caused lag, which is a problem repeatedly seen in fashion shows in Second Life.
Lag depends on the server side, as well as on the user end and the network in between. For that reason, though one can try to reduce it, they cannot guarantee that it will be eliminated, simply because no organizer of a show would have control over all the elements that may cause lag. In the Fashion Showdown 2009, it caused rewalks, for some outfits would not rez properly in the first time.
Some models were also missing and had to be replaced. Actually, the ideal scenario would have been one-model-one-outfit, but according to Charoa Hammerer it was impossible. She said she had overbooked the models, initially:
– I had twice as many as needed. In the end we had just enough.
To Delizioza Vendetta, it was a big issue:
– Many designers have been damaged by models found at the last moment, not very prepared, and damaged because judging without a preview photo and without the correct notecard is not easy… not all judges are designers that know the inspect option.
Charoa Hammerer likes the idea of jurors having the impact of seeing the designs for the first time when they are shown on the runway. So, in spite of providing preview pictures, she would rather, in future events, close the sim and allow entrance only to models and the jury. The public could watch the broadcast on the internet.
To some, it could sound interesting, too. To others, problems could remain:
– [In other contests] Usually the judges, with descriptions of the outfits, receive also some pics of them, just in anticipation of the probable lag of the sim with consequent not good rezzing of the models – said Thea Tamura.
On a side note, I should stress that I did enjoy the opportunity of taking part in an event and making an outfit especially designed to be presented then. Overall, I am happy about the standards that I achieved and I hope I can keep gaining experience and it can be translated into new designs. Creativity is one of my aims and I suppose it is time to experiment further.
As for being in an event with other designers, in general, it is great to see their creations and learn from the diversity that can be shown there. For that matter, though, it would be even more interesting to see more outfits prepared especially for the occasion, not just creations made for other purposes retextured and displayed on the runway.
It was not a general problem and it was not even a problem, considering that there was no rule against a designer retexturing a past creation of theirs. Actually, retexturing can require a lot of work, too. It just seems to me that introducing a new cut, even if it is a simple one, can contribute to increased diversity and enhance the experience.