3 big questions that I think have been answered by astute folks out there who were able to translate my mad ramblings into English. But I wanted to make sure to garble them out again just in case someone didn't get them in my previous attempts to convey whatever it is that I say! (it's ok, I don't listen either!*g*)
The three main questions seem to be "what the heck is a bye anyway?", "how are they used?" and "why are folks who have used them on the voting polls/who are these people who keep voting for them?"
The fourth, but more important question seems to be "How can I meet you in person/have your love children/send you all my money and/cookies." The answer to that one is just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!!!
Anyway. The serious answers.
What is a "bye"? That's b y e for those listening to this.
It tends to be used more in American football. At least that's where I first came across the term. It may be used elsewhere, not really sure about that. It's a one time "immunity". How it translates in this particular game is that you use it when you just can't, for whatever reason, submit an entry for that round.
Topic too touch or real life just hitting on the wrong time? You can use a "bye" and not be penalized.
I took an extra step of giving people two of them. That means during the course of the game you can say "man, I just can't get this entry in on time" twice.
How do you declare a bye? You either post it in the topic thread. "I am taking my bye". It doesn't have to be those words, but you get the idea. It works better when you do it there. HOWEVER, and I did this because I know a lot of people have had problems with Livejournal in the past and maybe they just can't even get on it, I will also accept an email to me at email@example.com just letting me know that you are taking a bye.
What happens if you do not do this? Well, I like to try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and this is where the confusion seem to have come from.
You have two byes. You can completely and utterly not post saying you are taking one, or not send an email. You can just be dealing with whatever has come up in your life to deal with, and just not bother with letting anyone know. That is then listed as an "automatic bye". If you use one of them this way, you don't get to use your other one. Basically I'm saying "you don't get two automatic byes". If you say "I'm using it" even once, doesn't matter if it's the first time or the second time, that's cool.
But if you don't let me know either time, then you are automatically dropped. I think it's a reasonable assumption that you are no longer interested in continuing in the competition if you miss more than two weeks. Even more of a reasonable assumption is that you probably have things going on in your life that you need to be paying attention to than staying in Idol. (although, really, what could be more important than us?*g*)
As for why they are listed in the voting poll when someone uses a bye. Why aren't they just not listed, or some sort of other thing put in the place?
The first part has two answers. One is for you. Some people like to keep track of that sort of thing, and there it is in black and white. (or whatever color scheme you use) You know who is still in the competition and who has taken a bye. If you want to know how many they have taken, well you just go back over the last couple of polls and check it out for yourself.
The second part is for myself and kithan. Previously, people who missed deadlines were taken out and put in a separate poll. People hated that a LOT more than they hate this system!! But when it came time to put them back into the next week's polls there was always a fear of screwing it up. Oops, we forgot to put so-and-so back... I think it happened once in Season 1, and there were only 9 people in that one! (but I was running it completely by myself and I'm a bit of an idiot!*g*) Or maybe season 2... but still, I wanted to "dummy proof" the system, and keeping them in seemed the best way.
Some people can answer the coding question *a lot* better than I can, because as stated, hello, I know nothing!! But essentially why they have the "bye week" text rather than taking out the button altogether is to make it easier for week to week maintenance and getting you guys the polls as quickly as possible every week instead of having to go back and change coding constantly.
I drive kithan crazy enough as it is. There's a reason this is season 4 and I've had 3 assistants since we've started! I'm not easy on them and they do a wonderful job not only putting things together, but dealing with the far tougher job of putting up with the fact that I'm pretty much insane!*g*
As for who are these people who vote for people with a bye week? Well I know who one of those people usually is. Hi. How are you. I vote for every one, almost every time. I've said that before. Sometimes I do like one person more than another and will vote for them instead. That's rare though, and even when that happens, I've used my one vote, the same as anyone else can use their one vote. Once the poll is posted the game is out of my hands until I see what the voters have decided! Which is awfully exciting for me too!
Why other people would vote for them? Well I suppose I could go back through the votes and look by the case by case and figure it out. But ultimately, does it really matter? Some people just like clicky boxes. I certainly do!!!
click click click!!! The votes don't count. If someone wants to throw an "atta boy" out there, it doesn't do any harm. Heck, maybe it will do some good so that they can look, see their name and go "man, I didn't even submit anything and I still got votes! I really need to write something next week!" Maybe not, but who knows...
Hopefully that answers your questions. If it doesn't though, or you still have some - about anything involving the game, or heck, things you just want to know, I'll be online for the next hour or so, and I think kithan probably be as well. More importantly though, there are some players out there - both veterans and newbies - who are extremely sharp about these sorts of things, who will be able to either help you or at least point you in the right direction.
Hope you are all having a great weekend - and good luck with the voting!