Hugi Magazine #33: MP3 Power

Hugi #33 header graphic

Remote entrying (By Maija "DiamonDie" Haavisto)

Remote entries (entering compos without attending the party) are somewhat of a controversial topic in the scene. Some parties allow them, others have strict rules against any submissions from people not present at the party place. Perhaps the most common rule is that you can submit productions if any member of your group is present (and usually has to deliver the entry). This is very easy to get around, as you can always temporarily join any group that accepts you as a member. Sometimes anyone to deliver your entry is fine. Of course no one notices or cares about breaking the rules if you're Mr. Unknown, but if people know you they know if you aren't present.

The attitude towards external entries often depends on the particular compo. Most parties are happy to receive demos and intros from people not attending, even if it isn't mentioned in the rules. ANSI and ASCII compos usually accept email entries, as there aren't that many textmode artists - and especially not that many textmode compos. Being an ASCII artists myself I've been happy about this tradition. I can only recall being present at two parties with an ASCII/ANSI compo, but I've released 20+ such pieces as external entries.

The biggest argument against remote entries is that people may win a share of the prize money without being present and thus without contributing to the lot. Parties that accept external entries usually don't award the winners who aren't present and it's hard to disagree with that. But there are exceptions too. Both me and my Chilean collaborator got prizes by mail from Pilgrimage 2005. At Icecube 2003 Delilah won a monitor as the first prize from the graphics compo without being present. I have no idea if/how she actually received it, but I guess she did. Many organizers are kind enough to send you a certificate even if you don't get any prizes from winning. Letter postages aren't that expensive after all.

The organizers of Numerica had another way of getting around this issue; they allowed external entries from people who paid the entrance fee. I'd have expected that no one would have entered, but apparently some people thought it was fine. I wasn't fond of the idea at all. The entrance fee for a party is after all an entrance fee, not a compo participation fee. It does contribute towards the prizes if there are any, but it's not a compo participation fee. And I don't want to imagine a situation where it would cost extra for entrance if you wanted to enter the compos as well.

And after all remote entries contribute to the amount of entries in the compo, thus making the party more enjoyable and more interesting. The lack of entries is not a problem at Breakpoint or Assembly (Assembly does actually accept external entries, if you can get someone to fetch the prize for you), but at most other parties, especially the smaller ones, it can be a great thing. The Icons party was very friendly towards external entries and as a result the two music compos had a total of 34 entries, most of them great. The graphics compos were still sorely lacking entries.

It's not about quantity of course, but quality as well. I'm inclined to speculate that external submissions in general tend to be higher in quality than other entries. People don't usually submit stickmen graphics or unfinished productions as remote entries. They aren't going to be partycoded material or something you doodled while drunk just before the deadline. Often they are going to be productions the author has been working on for ages, but hasn't had a chance to release, or perhaps something that missed the deadline at a previous party.

Whether remote entries are allowed and whether you can get prizes for them should always be clearly mentioned in the compo rules to avoid confusion. If external entries without a corresponding person are allowed, there should be clear instructions for the process, including the deadline for external entries, if different from the normal deadlines. If organizers advertise the possibility of external submissions, they should actually take care that they will end up in the compo. It's both frustrating for the author and bad press for the party, if external entries are left out because the organizers can't bother to check their email after all. Compo rules are for both parties to follow.