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Thanks for everyone that voted.
You know the saying, "You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't".
I'm sorry if I came across as "Not too nice" or unfair. I'm really trying to be fair, and to do something good for both a lucky and deserving winner, and the site. Unfortunately the site generates virtually no money and still has hosting costs and such, otherwise I would have wanted to send out two violas since you both did such a great job on the videos. Also I am giving away the instruments for free and paying for the shipping out of my pocket.
@ mikehancho - I am not a fan of this competition either. I would never have done it if I new what I was getting myself into. I really regret not having more rules straight from the beginning.
I'll announce the result by this evening after looking carefully at the votes and giving it a lot of thought.
Congratulations to both of you for the tie. You seem to have good friends that kept track of the competition and even tried to vote strategically at the last moment just to help you guys. It was interesting at the end.
Here is the funny thing about the internet.
Imagine a few fiddlerman members had been standing around in the hallway outside the fiddlerman room, which is conveniently located next to the violaman room, discussing the scoreboard hanging on the wall. Now imagine some folks go into the violaman room to cast a vote. They hear the fiddlerman folks speculating amongst themselves about the sudden activity on the scoreboard, wondering if a previous event in their shared fiddlerman history is repeating itself, discussing new contest ideas,wishing their violaman friend luck, and just generally chatting among themselves. It would probably not occur to the violaman folks to run up to the group and begin shouting about what horrible people the fiddlerman folks are for calling them cheats.
Our shared chatbox is much like a hallway outside of two rooms where friends gather. The difference is that the people involved are lost behind the impersonal mask of a screenname. This impersonality makes it much easier for people to "eavesdrop" although we know our conversations are not private. It makes it much easier for strangers to misconstrue discussions amongst friends, or even to make the determination that the discussion is in fact amongst friends. It makes it easier to say things that one might not say to a relative stranger in person. It makes it easier for one to forget one's manners, and that one is in a public place.
Jessica and her friends are right. We don't know her. We don't know her friends. We should all keep this in mind and not make personal attacks against people we don't know, especially when the conversation in question was speculation in general terms about the ongoing events.
No one ever said Jessica was a cheater. We did wonder if she would be like some previous winners who never came back once they got their freebie. I think that is a valid speculation. We don't know her. We wondered if her friends were real and would stick around. That is a valid speculation. We don't know them. I checked Jessica's posting history. The full extent of her participation so far has been contest related. I think that also lends support to the question of whether she and her friends would stick around afterwards. However, we at no time were mean-spirited in our speculations. Fiddlerman/violaman folk don't play that way. We are just trying to support Pierre and his wonderful learning communities.
I am glad that the contest has had a happy ending. I am glad Jessica was a gracious winner and intends to stick around. I hope her friends stick around as well. Violaman is too quiet.
Let me just end with a big
I am glad this all worked out happily in the end.
I am taking my fiddle and heading back to fiddlerman now where I don't have to do math.
I do so love the name "Camilla-the-Chicken," that I'd hate to think you'll not be visiting again from time to time, if only to see that nickname again.
But I understand.
Now that the contest is over, and everybody is gathered round the proverbial campfire singing "Kumbaya," I think it's time to close this thread so we can go back to the business of cussing and discussing the viola.