Mostly because if veterans didn't know the answers, then obviously I was not getting the message across in a strong enough way.
The questions being "Can I vote even though I am no longer a contestant" and "Do you need to be a member of the community to vote?"
Sure, there are exceptions to the rule - and when those happen, I will let you know "Hey, this is a Contestant Only vote" or "You have to be a member of the community to vote".
But, as a general rule - the votes are open to everyone. This is deliberate. Because I *want* you to tell your friends what is going on here. NOT as a "Just click the box for me!!!"
But rather a "Come and check this out!", encouraging them to read not only your entry, but other people's as well. This has been going on for 10 years, and a big part of that is that everyone has been doing their share over those years of bringing in new readers!
Readers don't appear from nowhere. (Well, occasionally we get a friend of a friend of a friend who once heard about Idol and decided to check it out - but even those you can trace back to their source) Every time someone reads your entry, and votes for you, or you get a comment from "someone passing through" that you don't personally know - that's someone that *someone else* brought into the Idol fold. Maybe it was three years ago, maybe it was 9. Perhaps they just started reading last week.
So yes, absolutely you can vote if you're not a current contestant.
Yes, PLEASE tell your friends about this place. If we are going to have *any* sort of future, that's on your shoulders in the same way it was on the shoulders of the people who told *you* about it in the first place!
They don't *have* to be a member of the community to vote. Obviously, that would be awesome and during a community only vote they would already be set up... and it certainly makes it easier to follow what's going on if you get the updates. But it's not required.
So get out there and spread the Good Word of Idol as a place where you can read some awesome entries (and maybe make a few friends in the process)!
If you have any other questions you've been hanging onto, now would be a good time to ask them!