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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.

  • The origins of the mistake
  • 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.

  • The specificities found in SL
  • 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.

  • Side note
  • 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.


    7 responses

    1. I would like to comment on several points of this article. First of all, I am not opposed to judges having a photo and was not aware this was a common practice. I was not able to obtain photos of all the outfits prior to the event at any cost but as i had stated in our discussion it will be taken under consideration for a future event.

      Additionally i would like to state that Judge Deliziosa’s statement that Thea was the winner was not a sanctioned notice and was never the opinion of Fashion Showdown. We acknowledge that under different circumstances she would have won and was offered compensation and the title of Sponsors Choice. All scores in the show are final. In future judges will be asked that they not dicuss scores with the designers for any reason and if there is a problem it should be addressed directly with the show coordinators first and only before any deicion can be made to communicate it.

      Regarding the models, we initially assigned a single model per designer, however, we found that there is a great lack of commitment from some which resulted in our having 1 model for 3 designers. The committed models WILL be asked to participate again as they were truly wonderful. With regards to the statement “Many designers have been damaged by models found at the last moment…” we did not have ANY models that were found at the last minute, all were familiar with the format and routine of the show and all were aware that they might be assigned multiple designers and were prepared. Our coordinator for the models Rouge Anthony did a great job ensuring that the models were prepared for the show and with exception to a few rewalks caused by lag, everything went wonderfully.

      Furthermore the models who notified they could not attend an hour before the show were not able to get online. Sunday was a bad day for SL, people had trouble getting online, several of us lost voice capability despite having voice active and much more and in future i don’t anticipate a Sunday show.

      The event and the challenges we faced afterwards were handled as diplomatically as possible and we believe we offered a viable solution. We have offered Thea recognition on our website and hope that she will understand our situation in this matter as much as we understand and empathize with hers.

      And finally, i ask that everyone keep in mind that this is our first show. I do not come from a modelling background and have never participated in a fashion show. I came to this event from the perspective of the texture vendor who wanted to see what people would create from the textures i offer. I thought a contest based on textures would be fun and possibly original, so with this in mind i proceeded to develop and organize this event. All in all i think we did a pretty good job for a first show, we had an amazing turnout with a packed sim and 40+ people on stream as well. Designers really enjoyed the ability to get live feedback about their outfits in the livestream chat. We received alot of comliments from our guests and alot of interest in seeing the next show which will of course be significantly improved now that we have more experience.

      November 22, 2009 at 4:23 am

    2. Arne Lauridsen

      What I’m asking myself is whether we really need fashion shows with judges and 1st, 2nd and 3rd prices. Fashion shows are of course highly important for creators and their customers, but judges and prizes bring stress and grief for everyone but the first prize winner and IMHO lastly have no real value given the immense variety of the fashion business in SL.

      November 23, 2009 at 6:35 am

    3. Deliziosa Vendetta

      Latins say:”To err is human but to persevere is stupid”.

      As judges appointed by Charoa Hammerer, we had to give to the designers right and deserved points and we made it. Thea received from us the highest scores because her talent is objective and undeniable.

      The problem was that she didn’t received the right recognition because of the bad organization of this event from Charoa (but as said: to err is human”) but also because of her perseverance to be mistaken (and this was very stupid).

      During the fashion show, I was in touch with an other judge and she was confused like me about the exact order of the outfits. I also contacted Charoa for telling her about some exchanges and errors due to a lot of confused rewalks that changed also order of our notecards and she told me “I changed the order and forgot to change the notecards around shoot” and also that “they might have walked it in the wrong order because one (she means model) was not rezzed”. So, she knew well that there were problems and a wrong order of the models.

      Sincerely I was certain that Charoa had informed also the other judges about these exchanges and errors. But she didn’t do it. After only 2 hours she proclaimed alone the winners and we know the sequel.

      When I proposed her to correct the mistake about Thea, she told me “I don’t want this becoming a huge fiasco.” According of her, people was very happy that the winner was a man outfit. But I think that people has to be happy when the winner deserves victory. And then, if it was so important the happiness of the people and, consequently, that to win was a man outfit, what sense had to appoint honest and expert judges? No one told us that we had to judge the works of the designers on the basis of the people’s taste and not the quality of the outfits.

      Anyway, we could remedy to Charoa’s mistakes, also because Thea was well-disposed to give up the prize and to leave it to Lexy Vergas, the wrong winner. There weren’t objective obstacles to not do it. But Charoa preferred to say that a judge was wrong (and it’s false), because she is interested only to the appearance of the things and not about the quality of them. She is interested only to make a good impression and not to the justice for all designers.

      She wants only people don’t think that her event was an “huge fiasco”…But, I would say to Charoa that this event was “a fiasco” also before she published her wrong scores.

      Charoa had a lot of problems with the models and she changed them with other backup models also 1 hour before of the fashion show and also on runway, during the rewalks. I was present when that is happened. These backup models weren’t very expert and they dind’t know clearly what they had to wear. In fact, on the runway, some of them worn different pieces from different outfits, didn’t have walk and poses. A disaster! And we judges didn’t have pics of the outfits to judge correctly the works of the designers. All that penalized the scores of almost all designers. Already for this reason, according of me, it was right and necessay to give more time to the judges to make a revision of the scores, before of their official publication from Charoa, or, at least, after that the Charoa’s mistakes were evident, to recalculate the scores of all designers. Instead, Charoa was only in hurry to proclaim her winners and to close her disputable group.

      Regarding these words of Charoa: “In future judges will be asked that they not dicuss scores with the designers for any reason and if there is a problem it should be addressed directly with the show coordinators first and only before any decision can be made to communicate it,” I would remember her that only before of an event the judges haven’t communicate with the competitors. But maybe Charoa believes to be so MISTRESS to decide about relations that we judges can establish also after that her event is closed and the winners are proclaimed, in addition, without our further revision of the scores. Fly Down, Charoa! We judges are not your kajiras! And I add…I’m very happy that there was a communication, after the (wrong)winners proclamation, between judges and the involved competitor in this farce, because that made evident terrible mistakes and serious injustices and I want to distance myself from your totalitarian and wrongful decisions as judge, designer and organizer of events, and to warn honest designers and honest judges against this kind of events and dishonest behaviours.

      November 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

    4. Sensuous Soulstar

      I think that the event was a great success. The ignorance and downright rudeness of the other judges, namely Kinji and even worse, Deliziosa was unnecessary and uncalled for. An error occurred, and a judge admitted that. To go past that, after a final decision was made and to call to the attention of everyone else involved their own opinion (a very unwarranted opinion in the case of Deliziosa) was a huge mistake and showed no class or tact on their part. It is not up to you as a volunteer judge to supercede a decision made by the creator of the event. If she decided to leave things as is, you need to get over it and move on! The problem stems from friends and acquaintances forgetting that they were supposed to be neutral and instead sticking their nose in something that was not their business. The only people that needed to be involved were the judge that erred, Charoa, and maybe Thea. Other than that NO OTHER JUDGE NEEDED TO PROVIDE THEIR INPUT! It was not your place and STILL IS NOT YOUR PLACE to speak on this situation anymore. If you managed to get your scorecard correct, and so did the other 2 judges then obviously, Charoa handled her business in a way that needed to be handled. As a judge, I was able to follow along with the changes and was able to score each outfit where it belonged. DO NOT blame that on Charoa. If a particular judge was too busy doing other things or not paying attention, then that is her fault, NOT THE EVENT COORDINATOR’S. This nonsense has been dragged out for too long. LET IT GO! It happened, it’s over. This was not a hard labor of love of an original outfit created for the event, it was merely a retexturing of an outfit that had been created before and even submitted in another fashion event. Had I known that as a judge prior to this event, my scores for her would have been a lot lower than what they were. Please let this issue go. It’s done and over with. STOP WHINING AND MOVE ON!

      November 24, 2009 at 1:32 am

    5. Ariantje Karu

      Kudos for Charoa and all those who support her

      November 24, 2009 at 1:49 am

    6. Deliziosa Vendetta

      My last post about this BIG FIASCO: Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

      November 24, 2009 at 9:06 am

    7. Thea Tamura

      Unfortunately, in spite of the efforts and the stress of designers, the most of the judges and all models, we took part in a discutable event, disputable about organization, seriousness and honesty. There is not honour to be associated to events of this kind for who lives also secondlife with the sense of justice.
      Personally, I live fashion contests and competitions like a challange with myself, not with other designers, and like a much creative moment and an occasion for socializing. But my social commitment against the injustices is surely more important of my creative commitment in SL.
      Everything could be more simple for me! I blamed a judge and take money (12.000 L) from a sponsor and for a designer like me who doesn’t use RL credit card in SL was surelly a pretty penny. But I gave up money because I knew well that the mistakes weren’t of a judge….but of Charoa and that Charoa took some irregular decisions. For me it’s more important to be consisted with my honesty then to hoard money and to be associated to bad events.

      It’s a lot of time I live in SL as honest designer and I can say that the main problem is that fashion community is a good affair for some bad people only interested to be “star”, make money and traffic in their sims. They don’t love really the art of fashion and don’t respect really in general people, and in particular the designers and their hard work. They only use us and our fame for their benefit. Besides, to shout “the event was a great success” after that a designer with the highest score is not the official winner of that event, is paradoxical and demonstrates many things, first of all that we designers and our dignity don’t have value for them….we are considered only “means” to exalt their “ego”.
      I’m a rational person, so I judge only the facts and the facts are testified (and logged). The facts can be confuted from other facts, but all that I read from Charoa and her Fans here are abstract opinions and stupid slogans based on nothing .
      The facts are:

      1) We all attended to 3 hours of fashion show! And who lives in the fashion world seriously, knows well that this it’s an exaggerated time for a good quality event. Also the lag were exaggered.

      2) Usually who organizes a fashion show, creates some scripts to send in chat with an accurate description of the outfits and the name of creators. In this strange event there weren’t descriptions for the outfits in chat. People and 3 judges was confused and some of them made “inspect” to know who was the creator/designer of these outfits!

      3) Usually the judges, with a descriptions of the outfits, receive also some pics of them (I sent Charoa all the necessary pics), just in anticipation of the probable lag of the sim with consequent no good rezzing of the models. But judges had nothing in their hands to estimate correctly the outfits.


      4) There was a lot of CONFUSED REWALKS that made confused also the judges. In fact, THE ORDER OF THE MODELS ON THE RUNWAY WAS DIFFERENT FROM THE ORDER OF THE OUTFITS IN THE NOTECARDS GIVEN TO JUDGES FROM CHAROA. The same Charoa, during the fashion show, admits: “I changed the order and forgot to change the notecards around shoot” and also that “they might have walked it in the wrong order because one (she means model) was not rezzed”.

      So a judge was wrong only in consequence of some mistakes of Charoa, mistakes that Charoa didn’t want to correct. During the fashion show it was her duty to inform all judges about these mistakes. When the show was concluded she had to ask judges a revision of the votes. After proclamation of the wrong winner, it was her duty recalculate the points correctly for all designers. I’m not the official winner only in consequence of these mistakes of Charoa.

      Thanks to this bad experience, we designers in future:

      1) We should distrust when an event is organized from not very expert people.
      2) We should distrust when an event is organized from people not known members in the fashion community.
      3) We should distrust when an organizer is not known for other previous succesful fashion events in the fashion community.
      4) We should distrust when the organizer ask us outfits without pics for a fashion show (this is a sign of not professionalism).
      5) We should distrust when the organizer has so many problems with the models.
      6) We should distrust when the organizer is more interested that her event becomes famous as “NOT A HUGE FIASCO” then as “A MUCH HONEST, RIGHT AND TRASPARENT” event!
      7) We should distrust when the organizer wants to prevent us from having contacts with the judges also after the event is concluded. This request is much suspicious.
      8) We should distrust when an organizer speak ill of judges and models.
      9) We should distrust when an organizer don’t take charge of his mistakes and to blame other people.
      10) We should distrust when an organizer proclaims the winners in only 2 hours.
      11) We should distrust when an organizer writes with her hands the votes on a webpage without asking judges to make a revision of them.
      12) We should distrust when an organizer thrusts her decisions upon her collaborators.
      13) We should distrust when an organizer expresses personal opinions without never telling the true facts. The opinions based not on the facts are abstract.
      14) We should always ask explainations when we note some irregularities. Only if the designers respect theirself, also other people will respect all designers.
      15) When there are irregularities in an event, the designers have to denounce them always. Only so we designers will have more honest events in SL where to take part in.

      As true winner (with 159 points, the highest score) of this contest who didn’t receive her deserved recognition, what to say? At this point, I’m happy that I can tell that I’m the TRUE WINNER and not the official one. In this not regular event, the word “OFFICIAL” (official is what Charoa decided alone without the judges) is very disputable. I’m happy to be considered winner for my honesty and my works from many honourable and expert judges, designers, models and friends all involved in the fashion community. Their very good opinion about my outfit for Fashion Showndown (my outfit wasn’t a retexturization of an old outfit, but it was created just for this event) and my moral integrity is the only thing important for me.

      Latins say also: Who sows the wind, reaps the whirlwind !!!! And you Charoa with your bad decisions are reapings and will reap only whirlwind. Because without the sense of justice, self-criticism and great humilty, believe me, you will can be better.


      November 24, 2009 at 1:04 pm

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