So much to discuss here and I hope I don't miss anything.
I'm actually a little hestitant to address any of it, because so much of it comes down to "how so and so is playing the game" and that is just so very personalized. Honestly? If someone is playing a game that involves insulting other people (or making them feel insulted at the very least) it could just be who they are, but in the context of Idol, it's how they are playing the game. IMO it's not the smartest way to go, but it may be the most true to who they are, and thus I am extremely hestitant to point any fingers or step in by taking them aside and going "dude, you need to maybe take it down a notch." Who am I talking about? Quite a few people actually. Some of whom think that the people didn't see a filtered post, but people talk, and I think it's always a good bet, regardless of how private you think something is, to assume that if you put it out there, it's out there.
Pretty much all of the things I've read/heard/seen smoke signals about in posts, emails, phone calls and of course the above mentioned smoke signals are boiled down to playing the game.
Not from a personal level of course, but from a game perspective, which is ultimately, the only thing I can really talk about and/or do anything about.
If someone messes with you to the point that it rattles you - what has happened? They have managed to get ahead of one more person. Is this their ultimate intent? Who knows. I certainly don't. Maybe they just don't like you. Maybe you don't like them. People don't like everyone, and sometimes that person they don't like is you.
There are plenty of people *I* don't like. Heck, I'm on that list somedays!*g*
Not everyone has to get along to play against each other. In fact, one of the most interesting rounds was settled back in Season 1 by ONE VOTE from people who really couldn't stand each other's writing at all. That was pretty intense. But it did teach me a valuable lesson, which is good for someone like myself who wants everyone to be all happy and like each other - sometimes that just isn't going to be the case, and for the sake of the game, you sometimes just have to put that aside and just ignore them the best you can. "The game" - heck, I'm quite sure there are people most of you work with/go to school with/are related to that you can't stand. The same applies here really.
That personal aspect aside, let's get into the tribes.
Most people seem to understand this, but some don't - so let's take a look.
The new tribes are entirely based on 1 and half weeks of voting. It no longer matters who has what sized friends list, and yes, it no longer matters who thinks who is the better writer. Tribe 4 are NOT "the best writers in the competition". Tribe 1 are NOT "the worst writers in the competition". What they are, quite frankly is the people who got the most votes. In the perfect world, would the people with the "best writing" get the most votes. Sure, but I can GUARANTEE YOU that you and I do not agree on who the "best writers" are in this competition. If I had money, and was prone to gambling, I'd put some serious cash on that. Who's right? Well I am.*g*
Seriously though, it is such a very, very subjective matter. What it comes down to is vote for what you like, and don't vote for what you don't like.
Hopefully people will get what I mean when I use this example:
You read a book. It's the best damn book you have ever read. It's not on the best seller list, it's not by some household name. Maybe it's a first time writer or just kind of obscure. Do you sit around and complain that this great writer isn't getting the attention they deserve? Just sit there and shake your head at a world that is too "ignornant to get it". OR, do you tell your friends about this book? Do you get them a copy or lend out yours to spread the world? Do you get them to tell THEIR friends.
Every last person on the best seller list had something that the people not on there lacked, and it's sure not talent. They had someone who believed in them enough that they did some networking for them, to put them in the right place, and with the right people to succeed. They got them in the right bookstores and got the right people who make the decisions talking about them. Anyone who's ever played on that level knows that it's a networking game, and often times it comes down to a luck game. Who can put the right ball into the air at the right time so that it ends up on the right person's desk.
It comes down to two kinds of people, IMO, those who would complain about the unfairness of the world, and those who actually do something about it to the best of their ability. The world itself is pretty darn big and complex. As it applies to this game though, it's wonderfully simplistic.
If you like something. If you think Person A should go further than Person B, then get them the votes they need to do that.
It's not a complex mystery. Support the contestants you like. Don't support the ones that you don't.
You break down each and every issue and it really comes down to that. Someone ticks you off, the ultimate "pay back" is not voting for them if you think their entry doesn't actually deserve one. If you don't like the person but think "wow, the entry was really good/interesting/thought-provoking even if I didn't agree with it" then that's even better since it means you are thinking things through and not just reacting from an emotional basis. But really, emotions play into every aspect of life and every single game, including this one.
But in Idol, like life, you get what you put into it. If you bring the negative emotions into it, that's what you are going to get out of your game.
If you manage to stay focused though, and not let anyone rattle you, you have a good chance of making it further into this game than you originally imagined was possible.
Honestly, and I probably shouldn't actually say this one out loud, but I think most people are smart enough to have figured it out already, or they will - people in the lower tribes actually have a better shot because they have more of a chance to survive on sheer talent without the worry of being overwhelmed. It's fairly equal "talent wise" IMO but just on that one issue of surviving one more week...which is all that anyone can ulimately do, the "lower numbered tribes" gives people who might have the talent but not the numbers, a chance to build themselves up, and hone their skills of getting that attention they deserve. It's a second chance, and a way to avoid just being picked off in a numbers game in the "higher numbered tribes". Plus, and I designed it this one, the people with lower vote totals are TRIBE 1. Why? Because that means people see their names first, and get more of a chance to read their entries as they are scrolling down the poll. There's less of a chance of getting "lost in the shuffle" and more of a chance of getting the support they need.
Let's see, what else? I saw someone say that the best writer didn't always win the season and that's what they didn't like... I point to the above. If you don't want someone to win, don't vote for them. If enough people agree with you, then they won't. I'd argue vehemently that we've had 3 seasons and 3 of the most incredible writers, and people, that I can imagine won them. "Best" is always a subjective opinion. But I'm going to go with a frequently quoted line on most reality show fan sites, which is that the person who wins is the person who deserved to win. Why? Because they were able to win and the sheer act of coming up with a way to do that is remarkable in and of itself.
There was also apparently was a comment somewhere about my taking people's suggestions for how to make the game better. I do listen. If it's an idea that I think will work, I impliment it. Almost never the way the person gave it to me, but that's because what they might think "man, this is great" when placed in the context of the game, it just doesn't quite work. The balance here is very important and pretty much every single idea that has ever been proposed - thus far - hasn't had that "right balance" to me that drives things forward, keeps things fun, and most importantly keeps things as "non subjective" as I can make a concept literally riddled with the prospect of subjectivity. Most of the ideas I've gotten over the years aren't "bad", they just don't work for the contest. They might work very well for something else, but this isn't "something else", this is LJ Idol, and at the end of the day I think it's worth all of the headaches and bumps in the road, some that might seem to be mountains and valleys at the time but ulimately, like most challenges, find a way to smooth themselves out.
I think that covers pretty much everything. It's nothing I haven't said before, and it's nothing I won't say again. But if you know of something I missed (again, I didn't go into specifics, because if you don't know what I'm talking about it's a good thing, and of course "want to trade?"*g* but I think most of the things out there fall into one of those categories.) please let me know via email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (I probably check gmail more these days) and I'll look into it and address it.